Update on Ontario Veterinary Surveillance Project

CANADA - Bob Friendship of the University of Guelph presented an update on the Ontario swine veterinary-based surveillance (OSVS) project at the 28th Centralia Swine Research Update on 28 January 2009.
calendar icon 22 April 2009
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Practising veterinarians can play an important role in detecting the first warning signs of a disease outbreak. The objective of the OSVS project is to determine the feasibility of a swine practice-based surveillance system and to make recommendations for longer-term implementation for animal health surveillance in a sentinel veterinary-practice system. Currently, the project is recording the occurrence of different disease syndromes reported by practitioners in order to identify any increases in rates of disease.

Seven swine veterinarians from five clinics in Ontario recorded information and transmitted data beginning in July 2007. The practitioners summarize the information according to the body system affected and the effect on production. Information on treatment response is also recorded. Methods of data collection involve either paper forms, or an electronic version of the form designated for a personal digital assistant (PDA). Also an internet-based form linked through a web page has been created. An electronic newsletter including the counts and percentages of body systems and production parameters affected is sent within the network on a monthly basis.

If an increase in the incidence of a syndrome (cluster of disease) is found, then the veterinarians within the network will be supported in carrying out investigations to determine if there is a problem of public or swine health significance.

In general, disease and routine submission counts have increased during the winter months. The OSVS programme has identified several disease clusters. One cluster identified between 9 and 30 January 2008 involved an unusual strain of Actinobacillus pleuropneumoniae (App).

Methods to assess different aspects of the programme are being established to improve its performance and the programme is currently investigating different approaches to improve compliance and timeliness.

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