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SHIC efforts bring pork industry closer to disease preparedness

SHIC annual report presented to and accepted by National Pork Board.

Swine Health Information Center (SHIC) executive director Dr. Paul Sundberg presented the center’s 2017 Annual Report and its accomplishments at the Jan. 9 National Pork Board meeting.

The board accepted the SHIC report and acknowledged the organization’s efforts to protect and enhance the health of the U.S. swine herd by providing a return on the investment made in the center.

“Each year, by design, (SHIC) provides a report to National Pork Board on its progress over the last year,” National Pork Board president Terry O’Neel said. “The SHIC report was given unanimous approval. The work that SHIC has performed in 2017 brings the U.S. pork industry closer to being prepared and having a rapid response plan in place in case of a major animal disease outbreak.

“SHIC is working on data warehouses that will provide swine disease monitoring while maintaining confidentiality for producers. Ethically, we have a responsibility to our U.S. swine herd to monitor and protect ourselves from foreign and emerging animal diseases," O'Neel said. "It is also paramount to the economic survival of our pork industry to avoid a foreign animal disease because of the extreme importance of being able to continue exporting U.S. pork in the global marketplace.”

In order to operate with transparency and be accountable to the producers who fund SHIC, the 2017 report contains detailed information on SHIC’s activities. It is available for review and comment at

Guided by the 2017 plan of work, SHIC’s resources were focused on urgent return-on-investment projects to monitor, predict, prepare and respond to emerging diseases. SHIC complements programs of other pork industry producer and veterinary organizations as it acts quickly and urgently regarding swine health by providing its coordinated, valuable deliverables to investors, according to an announcement.

Among the key accomplishments for SHIC in 2017 were:

* Implementing near-real-time domestic and global swine disease monitoring processes;

* Developing a communications action plan in the event of novel disease discovery;

* Launching a Rapid Response Program with a trained Rapid Response Corps to make site visits on farms with novel disease incidents;

* Funding diagnostic assistance to make sure emerging diseases won’t go undiscovered;

* Providing diagnostic tools for foreign animal diseases posing a threat, and

* Maintaining the Swine Disease Matrix that prioritizes disease risks to the U.S. pork industry.

Emerging diseases remain the primary concern for SHIC. These include diseases being introduced into the U.S., such as the porcine epidemic diarrhea virus outbreak in 2013, or endemic diseases that already are present but changed in some manner with significant health and/or profitability impacts, such as the Seneca Valley A virus that emerged in 2015.

SHIC’s 2018 plan of work is to continue to deliver relevant and useful tools, programs and resources and will be set by the organization’s board of directors using input from the industry and appropriate follow-up to the 2017 plan. The 2018 plan will be posted on the SHIC website following the organization’s board meeting in late January.

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.

TAGS: Pork
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