We are trying to give you a daily update on the situation regarding the auto accident that happened in Prague on Tuesday and lead to Dr. Morrison’s passing.
As of today, Jeanie Morrison, Dr. Morrison’s wife, is no longer in a life-threatening condition said the doctors in charge of her recovery. We do not have any further information but the Morrison family is in the process of creating a online information page to provide updates on Jeanie’s situation. We will add the link here when it is available.
The University of Minnesota College of Veterinary Medicine is mourning the death of Dr. Robert Morrison, a faculty member in its Department of Veterinary Population Medicine. Dr. Morrison, his wife and several companions were involved in an auto accident north of Prague in the Czech Republic. They were traveling prior to attending a swine health management conference in Prague. “Dr. Morrison was an international leader in the swine industry,” says Dr. Trevor Ames, dean of the college. “This is a tragic loss for the strong team of students and faculty that Bob helped us build. Our thoughts and prayers are with the Morrison family.”
Dr. Morrison was hired by the University of Minnesota in 1986 and recently launched the Swine Health Monitoring Project, which provides weekly reports on the health status of over 50% of the U.S. sow herds. Dr. Morrison also coordinated two internationally-respected swine health management conferences: the St. Paul, MN-based Allen D. Leman Swine Conference and the Leman China Conference in Nanjing, China. The conferences are named for UM professor Dr. Al Leman, who served as Dr. Morrison’s graduate advisor.
In Canada and the USA alike, Senecavirus A is a challenge for producers and veterinarians because of its clinical similarity to Food and Mouth Disease (FMD). Indeed, Senecavirus A, is a causative agent of swine vesicular disease with lesions developing on the snout, around the mouth and on the coronary band of the feet. Therefore, being able to differentiate Senecavirus A infections from FMD rapidly is of utmost importance to be able to take the appropriate measures.
In the past months, several diagnostic tests have been developed at the University of Minnesota to detect antibodies against Senecavirus A. The difference between those tests and the in situ hybridization (ISH) described here is that ISH targets the genetic material included in the viral particle and marks it as a red spot as can be seen on the figure below. This advantage of this method is to be able to locate the virus and gives additional information to researcher wanting to study the behavior of Senecavirus A in the body of the pig.
Seneca Valley virus (SVV) is the causative agent of an emerging vesicular disease in swine, which is clinically indistinguishable from other vesicular diseases such as foot-and-mouth disease. In addition, SVV has been associated with neonatal mortality in piglets. While a commercial SVV qRT-PCR is available, commercial antibodies are lacking to diagnose SVV infections by immunohistochemistry (IHC). Thus, a novel in situ hybridization technique—RNAscope (ISH) was developed to detect SVVRNA in infected tissues. From a total of 78 samples evaluated, 30 were positive by qRT-PCR and ISH-RNA, including vesicular lesions of affected sows, ulcerative lesions in the tongue of piglets and various other tissues with no evidence of histological lesions. Nineteen samples were negative for SVV by qRT-PCR and ISH-RNA. The Ct values of the qRT-PCR from ISH-RNA positive tissues varied from 12.0 to 32.6 (5.12 x 106 to 5.31 RNA copies/g, respectively). The ISH-RNA technique is an important tool in diagnosing and investigating the pathogenesis of SVV and other emerging pathogens.
Molecular characterization tools such as p146 sequencing for Mycoplasma hyopneumoniae (M. hyopneumoniae) can provide insight towards investigating elimination failures or new introductions within swine herds.
Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea virus is highly contagious.
The 2013 Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea virus’ (PEDV) outbreak in the USA taught the swine industry that the virus is highly contagious. This event forced producers and veterinarians to review and upgrade their biosecurity procedures.
Drs. Torremorell, Cheeran, and Goyal from the University of Minnesota evaluated some of these measures and how they can prevent PEDV transmission.
Changing Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and showering before entering a new room prevented contamination.
Among the measures included in this study were the use and change of PPE as well as showering in and out of a facility. In the low biosecurity setting, personnel went from a room with PEDV positive pig straight to a room with naive pigs, contaminating them after the very first movement. In the medium biosecurity setting, personnel washed their hands and face and change their PPE before being in contact with the naive pigs. In this situation, pigs stayed negative for PEDV but two personnel hair/face swabs came back positive for viral genetic material. On the contrary, personnel showered before getting in contact with the high biosecurity group. Those pigs as well as all personnel tests remained negative for PEDV during the study.