Swine Health Information Center Plan of Work

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African Swine Fever and Classical Swine Fever are being monitored globally. Swine Health Information Center executive director Dr. Paul Sundberg outlines the threat of these foreign animal diseases and the 2019 SHIC Plan of Action in this Pork Pod update.


Don Wick


Paul Sundberg, Executive Director, Swine Health Information Center




Don Wick : 00:15 From the Pork Checkoff in Des Moines, Iowa, it’s Pork Pod. Pork Pod, a look at the hot topics in today’s pork industry. The Pork Checkoff is working for you through various forms of research, promotion, and consumer information projects. I’m Don Wick speaking on behalf of the Pork Checkoff, and today our guest is Dr. Paul Sundberg, executive director of the Swine Health Information Center. Certainly the news as of late has been China and African swine fever. Dr Sundberg bring us up to speed. Where are we sitting as far as the threat of African swine fever at this point?

Paul Sundberg: 00:33 Well, the issue with China and African swine fever is, where do you get your information and what you want to pay attention to? The official word coming out of China is that they are releasing herds, they’re releasing areas. They have ASF under control and they’re making progress in cleaning up. The on the ground information coming from China is that the number of infections are woefully under-reported and ASF continues to circulate in China. It continues to infect pigs. It’s still moving around the country and it’s made a significant dent in their pork production. So the thing in China, you have to be very careful about the information that comes, this is a long term issue. This is not something that ASF in China is going to hit and then it will start to wane and then we’re going to be at less risk. This is a very long term issue and it’s going to continue for quite some time.

Don Wick : 01:39 Are there other parts of the world and other diseases that we should be alert to?

Paul Sundberg: 01:43 Well sure, there are always other things that are going on around the world, foot and mouth disease, of course, continues to circulate. Classical swine fever is one that is making some news because Japan has found classical swine fever in the central part of the country. They identified CSF in some commercial pigs. They reacted very quickly to depopulate those and control that infection. But classical swine fever is in the feral pigs around that area now. And that’s an ongoing concern because that’s {inaudible} for more infection in other areas. And so, they’ve got an issue with trying to clean that up and trying to control feral pigs with classical swine fever. So that’s, that’s another one that we’re monitoring very closely.

Don Wick : 02:39 Absolutely. All of these issues are of paramount concern to our US producer. And it’s really the focus with the Swine Health Information Center. You guys just put together your plan of work for 2019. Can you bring us up to speed?

Paul Sundberg: 02:53 Sure, sure. 2019. I’m really excited about the 2019 plan of work. When I talk to producers about the priorities for 2019, I did last fall and last winter. Talked to them about what they wanted to happen in 2019. One of the most common things that was brought up was about transport biosecurity. And everybody knows about truck washes and the lack of enough truck washes, etc. So we’re going to be looking at maybe innovative ways to help that transport biosecurity and focus on the finishing sites. We know that as barns get empty, they are at increasing risk of bringing something back from the packing plant every time a truck comes back. So we’re going to be looking especially at finishing sites because depletion sites can remain a risk for breeding herds that are around them. So that’s one thing. We’re going to continue the feed risk research that we’ve been doing.

Paul Sundberg: 03:54 We need to quickly get information about risks in feed in order to be able to support a risk assessment that will point out where we have to focus prevention measures. We’re going to be looking at how to sample feed, looking at the use of dust for sampling. We’re going to be doing some monitoring of some products and we’re also going to look at mills and see if we can figure out a cost effective way to disinfect, if you will, a mill that might have a pathogen in it. We have to look ahead and talk about what if’s and the what if is, if we get a pathogen like PED or like ASF or like any of the others within a mill and how to clean that up so we don’t transport it from there. We’re going to continue the disease monitoring reports, that domestic disease monitoring report is going to improve value. We’re going to look at giving more regional information and regional analysis. The international monitoring report, you know, the value of that was demonstrated when ASF hit China back in August. And that’s going to be continued because {inaudible} there is to walk over the hill and look at what’s happening around the world so we can understand where the pressures are for us. There are risks, but I think that there are also pressures and the more a virus or any disease circulates around the world, the more pressure that we have for introduction, and that’s especially important because this is all about prevention. We don’t want to just sit and look at these things. We want to make sure that we can prevent them from getting into the country as best as we can.

Don Wick : 05:39 When you look back to the start of the Swine Health Information Center, really the ability to respond quickly to the foreign animal disease threat has been a priority. How do you feel today? How prepared are we as a US swine industry compared to four years ago?

Paul Sundberg: 05:59 Oh my! Compared to four years ago, we’re way better. We’re way better than we were 10 years ago, four years ago, and even two years ago. So we’ve made a lot of progress. We really have! It is very heartening to see the progress and to feel the progress that’s been made. I think that’s a very important message. But the next piece of that and the next statement that’s going to be made is that we certainly aren’t done. We’ll never be done and say, okay, now we’re safe and we didn’t have to worry about anything. It’s an ongoing thing, just like I said with ASF in China, or CSF moving into Japan, or foot and mouth disease, other places around the world. Or pseudorabies, circovirus, any of that kind of trans-boundary diseases that could come. We have to continue to be vigilant and continue to be ready.

Paul Sundberg: 06:52 And also with focus on that prevention issue, get information that we can use to help protect the US swine herd. The one thing that I think that’s important for communication is what producers do on their farm and what can they do now? And I’ll tell you what they can do right now is biosecurity every day. I mean that’s, that can be a tiring word and a tiring process. But biosecurity every day on the farm is really important. You think globally and look over the hill and look across the water to things that are happening around the world. Think globally, but act locally. And that means biosecurity on your farm every day. Watch people coming on and off the farm and their international contacts. Be very vigilant about international contacts and the origin of any products that are coming onto your farm. Whether that’s foods that that people carry on or whether it’s feed for the pigs. Talk to the feed suppliers about the origin of your feed and make sure that you monitor and know the people that are coming on and off the farm and their history of international contacts. Very important deal to look globally, but act locally.

Don Wick : 08:17 Dr. Paul Sundberg from the Swine Health Information Center. Thanks to you for listening to this edition of Pork Pod. For more information on this topic or the Pork Checkoff itself, visit pork.org.