The Swine Health Information Center (SHIC) recently funded a study that will be conducted by Kansas State University researchers to investigate using dust samples to monitor for swine pathogens in U.S. feed mills.
SHIC said there is potential for the findings to lead to the development of a diagnostic laboratory panel of assays where a single submitted swab of feed mill dust could be analyzed for multiple feed-based bacteria and viruses — a low-cost tool that could be used to help address feed safety issues.
This research will use Senecavirus A (SVA) to validate detection techniques. More research into transmission of SVA is needed, including if feed plays a role, but this project will offer a look into prevalence and high-risk locations for SVA entry into the feed system in order to add another piece of information about the virus, SHIC said. At the same time, this research could possibly lead to the development of centralized protocols for dust sampling that can be a convenient and cost-effective surveillance tool for feed-based pathogens.
While the implications for the U.S. industry are clear, researchers are equally as interested in the outcomes for a broader application. These same tools and strategies can be employed to minimize the risk of foreign animal disease entry into feed mills, including for other viruses such as foot and mouth disease, SHIC said.
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.