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Morrison Swine Health Monitoring Project underscores value of information sharing

24 April 2018

Poultry Health Today

Collaboration among veterinarians working with different pork producers is one of the great benefits emanating from the Morrison Swine Health Monitoring Project (MSHMP), Carles Vilalta, DVM, PhD, told Pig Health Today.

MSHMP is a swine-disease surveillance system based at the University of Minnesota that depends on the participation of pork producers. It initially focused on porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome (PRRS) and, more recently, incorporated porcine epidemic diarrhoea (PED) virus and Seneca Valley Virus into its monitoring system. Ultimately, the project is intended to help pork producers be prepared for endemic and emerging diseases.

Vilalta is one of several veterinarians continuing the project since the passing of MSHMP’s founder, Robert “Bob” Morrision, DVM, PhD, University of Minnesota. Participating producers send data weekly to MSHMP, which incorporates the information into its system and provides a surveillance report every Friday, he explained.

Monitoring helps reveal information such as regions where PRRS is on the increase or it might indicate that a new strain of the virus is circulating, said Vilalta, also of the university.

He emphasised that collaboration among swine veterinarians facilitated by MSHMP is invaluable, especially when there is open discussion without restrictions. “To me that’s a valuable tool.”

One question that remains unanswered is why summer outbreaks of PRRS occur. Usually it’s considered a winter disease, like PED, but every year there are summer outbreaks, including on farms that never had PRRS before and were negative for the virus, he said.

“The million-dollar question,” however, said Vilalta, is where the PRRS virus hides. “Is it on the farm or off the farm?” Despite outbreak investigations, it remains an unanswered question that MSHMP hopes to eventually answer.



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