Global monitoring provides head start on emerging diseases

Global tracking of swine diseases is helping pork producers be better equipped to guard against the threat of existing and emerging diseases.

by Emily Houghton
16 September 2019, at 4:00pm

To ensure pork producers are aware of the various disease threats circulating around the world, the Swine Health Information Center includes both domestic and global disease monitoring reports in its monthly newsletter.

Speaking to Farmscape, Swine Health Information Center Executive Director Dr Paul Sundberg says these reports utilise data from a wide number of sources.

“In cooperation with the University of Minnesota, we are monitoring animal health events internationally and that takes two forms,” says Dr Sundberg.

“One is official, or what we term hard sources. The OIE and governments themselves put out notices about animal health so we're making sure that we monitor those. Also, importantly there are what we term soft sources and those are unofficial sources. We have contacts with people on the ground in those countries. Sometimes that information isn't the same as what comes out of the government reports and so that's an important piece. In addition, the other pieces of information that we look at are international monitoring reports that come out of Canada as well as the UK. There's a report of animal health in the United Kingdom that's periodically released. So we're looking at all kinds of sources and intel that we can put together to help inform the U.S. producer.”

Dr Sundberg says the primary interest right now is African swine fever as well as the other classic foreign animal diseases but other diseases such as PRRS, PED and other production diseases are also being tracked. He says, even if it's not a classic foreign animal disease, it's important to have a heads up on the infections that circulating around the world.