US pork board to focus on finishing phase biosecurity

SHIC adjusted its budget for new program
calendar icon 18 July 2022
clock icon 2 minute read

At their last meeting, the Swine Health Information Center (SHIC) board of directors voted to proceed with a revision of its 2022 Plan of Work to fund a new program on finishing phase biosecurity. SHIC’s Board approved reallocation of $1 million from the 2022 budget for the program to be developed in response to disease data from its Swine Disease Reporting System and other recent finishing phase disease outbreak investigations. SDRS data is shared monthly with SHIC stakeholders on its website and in its newsletter.

The new program will specifically address the finishing phase of swine production, an area where recent data and SHIC Rapid Response Teams’ investigations illustrates an ongoing industry vulnerability. In turn, the vulnerability in the finisher increases disease pressure on the breeding and farrowing phases, where biosecurity measures have historically been focused.

Examples cited include:

  • Actinobacillus pleuropneumoniae serotype 15 outbreaks in Iowa-based finishers
  • Evidence of porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome virus outbreaks in finishers preceding outbreaks in sow barns, and
  • Nursery and finisher sites being implicated as sources of increased porcine epidemic diarrhea virus outbreaks.

This led SHIC to recognise the need for a new focus on the finishing phase of production. The program will concentrate on cost-effective new technologies and research into biocontainment, bioexclusion, and transport biosecurity.

“Measurable data makes it clear there are patterns in biosecurity gaps at the finishing phase of production needing to be addressed,” commented Megan Niederwerder, DVM, PhD, Associate Director of SHIC. “We were able to quickly but carefully develop a research program in response to this industry challenge with a goal of identifying solutions for producers and veterinarians to close the biosecurity gaps and protect the health of their herds.”

As part of the proposed program, SHIC will create an advisory group to help develop specific, researchable questions for the topic areas of transport biosecurity, bioexclusion, and biocontainment. They will also collaborate and communicate across the pork industry, ensuring there is coordination and no overlap in investigations for research to provide the greatest return on investment.

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