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SHIC releases 2018 plan of work to help safeguard swine health

Plan covers transportation biosecurity, pathogen transport in feed, disease communication and ability to respond to emerging diseases.

The Swine Health Information Center (SHIC) plan of work for 2018, with projects designed to quickly deliver results to safeguard the health of the U.S. swine herd, was approved by the organization’s board of directors during its Jan. 26 meeting.

The plan includes a focused effort to improve transportation biosecurity, next steps for investigating feed as a possible vehicle for pathogen transport into the country and between farms, improving communication about international and domestic swine diseases and continued testing of the ability to respond to emerging disease through the Rapid Response Corps, SHIC said.

The project to improve transport biosecurity from points of concentration begins with better understanding trucker/facility interactions and transmission pathways. Steps for facilitating improved trailer disinfection will also be investigated, the announcement said.

SHIC said it is investigating the ability of common inputs to act as biologic or mechanical vectors for disease introduction into the country or between farms. This includes work on feed as a possible vehicle to transport pathogens, studying imported feed components and their risk and what might reduce or eliminate risks.

SHIC programs for improving surveillance and discovery in 2018 will help investigate newly identified agents associated with disease as well as ensure detection of emerging disease to facilitate rapid response.

Being prepared to respond quickly and effectively to emerging disease includes SHIC’s new Rapid Response Program, with corps members already being trained. In the event of an emerging disease, the corps will help quickly respond to and manage incidents with a focus on communication, quickly researching pathogens and supporting a unified response, the center noted.

SHIC added that it will continue to identify swine disease risks via domestic and international monitoring. As part of the international program, publications are monitored, international disease databases are watched and international contacts and allied industry partners are asked to give a “boots on the ground” perspective.

SHIC will continue to support the Morrison Swine Health Monitoring Project to develop industry capacity for detection of emerging disease, rapid response and business continuity. Sharing information through the project will be the foundation for new and innovative analyses to enable prospective swine health decision-making, SHIC said.

The Swine Disease Matrix is constantly being reviewed, with updates happening in response to disease activity and awareness. In 2018, SHIC said it will include bacterial pathogens to reflect the reality seen on farms. Using the prioritized pathogens in the Swine Disease Matrix, the center is working to enhance swine disease diagnostic capabilities. SHIC-funded diagnostic tools will be staged for access by veterinary diagnostic labs so they can be used quickly for disease diagnostic work-ups.

Information on all projects, research and programs can be found on the SHIC website at www.swinehealth.org.

Funded by America’s pork producers to protect and enhance the health of the U.S. swine herd, SHIC focuses its efforts on prevention, preparedness and response. As a conduit of information and research, SHIC encourages the sharing of its publications and research for the benefit of swine health.

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