Funeral Information for Dr. Michael Murtaugh

Michael Murtaugh
Dr. Mike Murtaugh

Professor Michael Murtaugh, PhD, passed away last Tuesday from complications related to his ongoing battle with pancreatic cancer. He was 67. A memorial service will be held Saturday, September 29 at 11 a.m. at Calvary Church in Roseville. Visitation is from 9 to 11 a.m. at the church.

Mike joined the college in 1985 and spent his University of Minnesota career in the Department of Veterinary and Biomedical Sciences. He was a consummate faculty member, excelling in teaching courses and conducting research and outreach. Mike authored more than 225 peer-reviewed journal articles, was the primary advisor for 30 Master’s and PhD students, and held three U.S. patents. At the time of his death, Mike was serving on the editorial boards of more than a dozen academic journals, and had successfully completed nearly 160 sponsored projects as a PI or co-PI.

He was an international leader in battling the porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome virus (PRRSv) that costs U.S. swine producers alone nearly $500 million annually. Mike used molecular biology to first understand the PRRSv pathogen and immunology to evaluate the pig’s immune response. His lasting legacy is a generation of scientifically-trained swine health specialists.

Mike earned his BS in biology at the University of Notre Dame and then served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Venezuela. He earned a PhD in entomology at The Ohio State University. The University of Texas Medical School in Houston was his next stop—spending four years in a post-doctoral position in the departments of internal medicine and pharmacology—before arriving in St. Paul.

He will be remembered for his dry sense of humor, a character trait that he maintained even as his battle with cancer raged. Mike cared passionately about science and derived some of his greatest personal satisfaction working on the collegiate strategic plan and the International Conference on One Medicine and One Science. Mike cared deeply about science informing policy and saw the need for scientists to be more actively involved in communicating about their research. I am grateful to have known him, and stand in awe of the many contributions he made to our college.

Dean Trevor Ames
College of Veterinary Medicine
University of Minnesota

Science Page: Within farm PRRS time-to-stability differences in sow farms in the Midwest

This is our Friday rubric: every week a new Science Page from the Bob Morrison’s Swine Health Monitoring Project. The previous editions of the science page are available on our website.

This week, we are sharing a report by the MSHMP team regarding PRRS time-to-stability differences in sow farms.

Keypoints:

  • There is significant within farm PRRS time-to-stability variation.
  • Several factors contribute to PRRS time-to-stability variability; however, there is still a significant amount of unexplained variability.
  • The role of within farm management practices and internal biosecurity measures should be further explored.

Introduction

Porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome (PRRS) stability is reached when no evidence of infection is observed in wean-age piglets. Sample size to detect PRRS virus in wean-age piglets usually involves blood sampling of 30 piglets, at least four times, 30 days apart (Holtkamp et al., 2011). The cumulative time from the intervention (i.e. whole herd exposure, herd closure) to PRRS stability is usually referred to as time-to-stability (TTS).

Here we summarize differences in TTS in MSHMP participating farms located in the Midwest that have had at least two PRRS outbreaks.

Methods

Six systems that are similar in the way they test to classify a herd as stable were selected for inclusion in the study. PRRS outbreaks reported from 2011 to 2017 were used for analysis.

TTS was defined as the time period from the date of outbreak reporting to the date when PRRS stability was reported (last consecutive negative PCR result). To assess the variability in TTS, only farms that had at least two PRRS outbreaks were selected.

Results

Overall, 133 PRRS outbreaks in 53 farms were recorded withtwo, three, four and five outbreaks in 35, 11, 5, 2 farms, respectively. The median TTS standard deviation of PRRS outbreaks within the same farm was 12 weeks (minimum = 0 weeks, maximum=88 weeks).

After accounting for the effect of the intervention using MLV or FVI, the RFLP pattern of the virus associated with the outbreak and previous PRRS outbreaks in the farm, the PRRS time-to-stability correlation of outbreaks in the same farm and system was only 1.2%.

In other words, TTS of two given outbreaks in the same farm were not correlated indicating that TTS within farm is highly variable.

Conclusion

There is a high TTS variability after a PRRS outbreak within the same farm that is not accounted for by the effect of the intervention used, the virus (i.e RFLP), previous PRRS outbreaks in the farm and system.

African Swine Fever: 2 podcasts available

We are coming back with 2 new podcasts on African Swine Fever today.

First podcast on African Swine Fever

In this first of a two part episode of At The Meeting Honoring Dr. Bob Morrison, we share a conversation on African Swine Fever or ASF.

Dr. Montse Torremorell joins Dr. Tom Wetzel and Dr. Gordon Spronk with special guest Dr. Liz Wagstrom, Chief Veterinarian for the National Pork Producers Council, to talk about ASF and how it is the most feared disease in pigs in the world.

Take away:

  1. Having ASF in the United States would impact trade
  2. ASF is a hardy virus (hard to eradicate and lives in extreme conditions), and
  3. there is no vaccine.

The U.S. pork industry is taking action now by making sure laboratory capacity is up to date, looking at identifying and categorizing higher risk transmission paths plus their mitigation plans, and improving the approach to surveillance and risk planning and implementation.

Second podcast on African Swine Fever

In this second of a two part episode of At The Meeting Honoring Dr. Bob Morrison, we continue our conversation on African Swine Fever or ASF. Dr. Montse Torremorell joins Dr. Tom Wetzel and Dr. Gordon Spronk with special guest Brad Heron, Director of Operations of Cherkizovo (pronounced “Chair-Kee-Zi-Vo”) in Russia. Brad offers a personal, boots on the ground perspective on ASF.

Brad shares several stories of how ASF was discovered and handled on the Russian farms he helps run. The early disease indicators were confusing due to other animal diseases also running its course so ASF was not discovered as early as they had thought they would.

Brad highlights what happened to the operations when ASF was discovered, actions they had to take, and the Russian regulations they had to work with requiring depopulations within a five mile radius. He also summarizes the biosecurity changes they made to defend against ASF, including transportation tracking, multiple testing points through out the operations, and physical farm and people security improvements.

The number one key take away from Brad: Have good testing; if you don’t test, you don’t have the ability discover outbreaks.

Remember that this afternoon a special session will be held at the Leman Conference regarding African Swine Fever.

Science Page: Salmonella monophasic harboring plasmid mediated resistance genes to enrofloxacin and ceftiofur is expanding in swine in the Midwest

This is our Friday rubric: every week a new Science Page from the Bob Morrison’s Swine Health Monitoring Project. The previous editions of the science page are available on our website.

This week, we are sharing a report by Dr. Elnekave and the STEMMA lab regarding a multiresistant clad of Salmonella isolated in the Midwest.

Key Points:

  • A genetically distinct clade of Salmonella 4,[5],12:i:- (also referred to as S. monophasic), harboring multiple antimicrobial resistance genes (including to ampicillin,streptomycin, sulfonamides, and tetracyclines) became the predominant S. monophasic type in swine in the U.S. during 2014-2016.
  • Phenotypic resistance to enrofloxacin (fluoroquinolone) and ceftiofur (3rd generation cephalosporin) was present in a proportion these isolates, and whole genome sequencing revealed the presence of the plasmid-mediated genes.
  • These plasmid-mediated resistance genes could potentially transfer horizontally to other microorganisms and augment the problem of antimicrobial resistance to these critically important antibiotics.

S. monophasic emerged globally in the recent years and pig products have been identified as a source in some foodborne outbreaks. The prevalence of S. monophasic, and phenotypic resistance (minimum inhibitory concentration (MIC) above the cut-off value for this bacteria) to enrofloxacin increased in swine clinical samples in the Midwest during 2006 and 2016.

During this period, injectable enrofloxacin was approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for treatment of swine respiratory disease and colibacillosis in piglets (in 2008 and 2014, respectively); therefore, the objective of the study was to characterize the S. monophasic in swine in the U.S Midwest.

Salmonella genotypic profile
Maximum likelihood tree of S. monophasic collected in the U.S. and Europe during 1991-2016. Tip colors indicate of the period of sample collection: 1991-2009 (red), 2010-2013 (green), 2014-2016 (turquoise) and not available (n.a.; purple). The location of samples collection is indicated by the background color: Europe (red), U.S. (blue) and not available (green). ASSUT= presence of resistance genes against ampicillin, streptomycin, sulfonamides, and tetracyclines. qnr genes – conferring resistance to quinolones.

We used whole genome sequencing to compare S. monophasic isolates collected from livestock in the Midwest with isolates collected from different sources in the U.S. and Europe. We then determined the antimicrobial resistance genotypes and presence of other virulence factors that could help to explain the emergence of this variant.

Salmonella monophasic formed two main genetic clades regardless of source and geographical origin (Figure 1). Most (84%) isolates recovered in the U.S. during 2014-2016, including 50 isolates (out of 51) originating mainly from swine in the Midwest, were part of an emerging clade genotypically resistant to ampicillin, streptomycin, sulphonamides and tetracyclines. In the Midwest samples, phenotypic resistance to enrofloxacin (11 out of 50; 22%) and ceftiofur (9 out of 50; 18%) was found in conjunction with plasmid-mediated resistance genes. This is of particular concern because fluoroquinolones and 3rd generation cephalosporins are often used to treat invasive Salmonella infections in people. Furthermore, because the genes were plasmid borne there is greater likelihood for horizontal transfer of these genes to other bacterial strains.

African Swine Fever confirmed in Belgium: a Swine Disease Global Surveillance Report

African Swine Fever (ASF) has been confirmed in Belgium.

This report was published by the Swine Health Information Center and prepared by the University of Minnesota.

Although it has not been officially reported to the OIE yet, preliminary reports indicate that ASF has been confirmed in two wild boars near the southern village of Étalle, in the province of Luxembourg, which is located 8 miles (12 km) from the border with France and 11 miles (17 km) from Luxembourg. It appears to have jumped a considerable distance from previously affected countries, about 300 miles (500 km) from the border with the Czech Republic, 500 miles from Hungary, and 750 miles (1,200 km) from the border with Romania (approximate distances). The Belgian authorities report they are working to prevent the possible spread of the disease among wild boar and onto pig farms.

In 2017, Belgium exported $1.4 billion of pork, making it the eighth largest pork exporter by country, and it is unclear how trade within the European Union will be affected. Following the report, the French Minister of Agriculture called for “an adequate response given the considerable economic interests at stake for the French agri-food chain” and warned about the impact of the Belgian outbreak, calling on officials to stop the disease from spreading across the border.

ASF Belgium map 1
Figure 1: Europe. In red, village of Étalle, Belgium, location of the latest report of African Swine Fever.

ASF has been spreading through Eastern Europe, mostly associated with transmission through wild boars, a population that has been growing in Europe over the last decade.This new outbreak represents the expansion of the disease, for the first time during the current pandemic, into Western Europe (Figure 1). This is also the first time ASF has been diagnosed in Belgium since 1985, when 12 farms were infected and 60 farms (34,041 animals) were eliminated. A recent modeling exercise on the potential spread of ASF in Belgium suggested that, in most of the cases, the disease would be controlled before any spread; however, if ASF virus was introduced into commercial farms, the median number of infected farms was predicted to be 6 (see Simons et al at the References section).

This new outbreak may represent a new change in the epidemiologic situation of ASF worldwide, suggesting that the disease may have reached pandemic proportions. “Pandemic” is a term that refers to “an outbreak of a disease that occurs over a wide geographic area”, which seems appropriate in this case, considering ASF expansion across Europe, and over considerable distances in China over the last year, in addition to the sustained occurrence of outbreaks in Africa and Russia.

ASF Beglium map 2
Figure 2: Europe. In red, Belgium, location of the latest report of African Swine Fever. In orange, European Countries that have reported ASF in this current pandemic of the disease.

The 2018 Leman conference starts this week-end!

Are you ready for the 2018 Leman conference? Come see us starting September 15th at the Saint Paul RiverCentre.

Why come to the Leman conference?

  • For the scientific program built around science-driven solutions, with international speakers
  • For the networking opportunities with hundreds of participants from the swine industry
  • Continuing Education credits available for veterinarians
  • Flu vaccination clinic sponsored by Newport Laboratories

cfs_lemanswine_web_hdr_1200x200

Who should attend the Allen D. Leman swine conference?

Swine veterinarians and other professionals working in swine production and animal health management are welcome to attend.

This year in the program:

  • Keynote presentations:
    • Morrison Lecture: New Fashion Pork: Our Integrated History by Brad Freking and Deb Murray
    • Mycoplasma hyopneumoniae: Where are we at and where are we going? by Maria Pieters
    • Trade in Pigs and Pork: Challenges for an Exporting Nation by
      Becca Martin and Randy Spronk
    • Pijoan Lecture: 30 Years of PRRS: A Platform for Progress by Michael Murtaugh
  • Dr. Rebecca Robbins to receive the Science in Practice award sponsored by Boehringer Ingelheim
  • Beer and Bacon conversations: Dr. Matt Turner will be interviewed by Dr. Marie Culhane on Sunday September 15th at 5:15pm
  • The Morrison Swine Innovator Prize will be awarded for the first time on Monday September 16th
  • Special African Swine Fever session chair by John Deen on Monday September 15th

We are looking forward to seeing you next week but if you cannot make it, make sure to come see us next year: Sept 14-17, 2019 !

Classical Swine Fever in Japan: a Swine Disease Global Surveillance Report

This report was published by the Swine Health Information Center and prepared by the University of Minnesota.

Sunday, September 9th, 2018

Classical Swine fever reported in Japan 26 years after last outbreak

On Sunday September 9th, Japan reported the occurrence of Classical Swine fever, in a farm located at Gifu Prefecture, in the central area of the country. Last week, one pig died suddenly, followed by the mortality of 80 others. On Sunday, officials declared the animals as tested positive for Classical Swine fever (CSF), also known as Hog Cholera. Currently, China is facing an epidemic of African Swine Fever, which is totally unrelated to this event in Japan. To date, Japanese Veterinary Services have ruled out the occurrence of African Swine Fever (ASF) in this outbreak or in the country.

A task force was implemented, and the remaining 610 pigs were culled to contain the outbreak. By Monday morning (local time) depopulation of the farm was completed. At first, no clear origin of infection was identified as feed was commercial, nor there were known foreign labors or visits from countries endemic with CSF working in the farm. At this point, cause of the virus introduction is unknown and under investigation.

Exports of pork have been suspended until the Veterinary Services are capable of understand the extension of the outbreak and if the measures were sufficient to contain it, while investigations about possible routes of introduction are implemented as well. The Gifu Prefecture is not the major area of swine production, and it is located 500 miles (800 kilometers) from the south region, the highest pig-dense area.

Classical swine fever map japan september 2018
Figure 1: Map of Japan, and Prefectures. In red, location of the Gifu Prefecture, in Central Japan. The highest pig-dense area of Japan is located in the south region of the country (adapted from Sasaki et al.,2017) approximately 500 miles (800 km) from Gifu Prefecture by road.

CSF is a notifiable disease and affects the international trade of pork, however, clinically it is usually considered less severe than ASF. Currently, it is considered endemic in many countries, including China, therefore it is a disease with potential direct and indirect effects to the US industry. Depending on the strain, extensions of outbreak, route of introduction and effectiveness of biosecurity measures to contain and prevent re-introductions, it could offer different levels of risk. Commercial vaccines are available for CSF control.

The last CSF outbreak in Japan was in 1992 in Kumamoto Prefecture, and in 2007 the use of vaccination was banned, and disease eradication was declared in the country. The Japanese swine industry is still recovering from the 2013-2016 PED epidemic. On July 9th-2018, APHIS published the official notice of the OIE recognition of Japan as free CSF. Currently Japan exports pork, and it is in the top-10 pork producing countries in the world. FAS/Tokyo estimates Japanese swine slaughter held stable at 16.336 million head in 2017.

At this point, no other cases of CSF are suspected in Japan.

classical swine fever map japan 2 september 2018
Figure 2: Report of classical Swine Fever in Japan. In red, Gifu Prefecture in Japan, located in the central area of the country. Score 2.*
*SDGS – Significance score: A scoring system to assess the likelihood a disease event will impact the global swine industry. Scores range from 1-3 (low-high) based on the novelty of the disease, effect on the swine industry, and impact on trade.