Coordinated Approach to Addressing Disease Urged

CANADA - An associate professor with Western College of Veterinary Medicine in Saskatoon suggests the pork industry's experience with PCVAD has demonstrated the need for a coordinated approach to dealing with new animal disease threats, writes Bruce Cochrane.
calendar icon 20 July 2009
clock icon 3 minute read

Although new vaccines have largely brought Porcine Circovirus Associated Disease under control, devastating losses from the mid-1990s to mid-2000s have prompted the Canadian swine industry to reexamine strategies for dealing with new and emerging disease threats.

Dr. John Harding says there's a number of things we can do.

Dr. John Harding-Western College of Veterinary Medicine

Certainly there needs to be very good on-farm and regional surveillance and there needs to be a network of surveillance teams or some sort of national collaborative way that we can respond to new disease threats that may be out there.

I think the labs need to work together and closely with producers and their veterinarians and we need to talk and collaborate across the country.

I think thirdly what we need is a group of individuals that could respond in the event of a new emerging disease and I'm not thinking on foreign animal diseases because we've got a federal government that will respond in those but, for new diseases that just don't fit the clinical picture, I think we need a group of individuals that can get out and mobilize themselves and have good laboratory back-up that they could go to the farm, do an investigation.

They're rapidly mobilized to either diagnose it as something that we know of or embark on a trail of this is something new and hence be able to communicate that back to the leaders of the swine industry who really need to know it most.

Dr. Harding suggests, when the standard diagnostics fail to identify the cause of high rates of mortality, we may be dealing with a completely new virus, a new strain of virus or a combination of pathogens.

He says we need to keep one foot in the box looking at the regular stuff and one foot out of the box keeping in mind there may be other things out there.

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