October 5, 2022


US swine health project developing methodology for communications concerning swine disease outbreaks



In a Swine Health Information Center-funded effort aimed at increasing swine disease prevention and preparedness, staff with the Morrison Swine Health Monitoring Project (MSHMP) in the United States are developing a methodology to communicate with project participants whenever a swine disease is occurring in the region near their sites.


Whether an endemic or emerging disease, the goal is to be able to quickly report regional status to producers, allowing them to take precautions to protect their herds, said Mariana Kikuti, a researcher at the University of Minnesota Department of Veterinary Medicine.


"For example, if a producer's neighbor tested positive for PRRS (porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome), or maybe ASF (African swine fever) in the future, they would be notified and able to take necessary precautions," Kikuti explained.


However, the benefits extend beyond the producer level as well.


Kikuti added: "Indirectly, this programme may also be able to facilitate the interaction between producers and animal health authorities in the face of an FAD."


Kikuti and her colleagues said the project is possible due to MSHMP's primary mission, which is capturing and analysing swine health data on a weekly basis from participating farms. Work to take that data and find a useful radius for notifications counting positive sites in a given region is underway.


The programme has been tested with one company participating in MSHMP, giving researchers a baseline for continued development, beginning with PRRS monitoring and reporting.


When the project is complete, MSHMP will weekly calculate the distance between a site that has recently reported an outbreak and neighboring MSHMP sites. From there, the team will develop a communication system to share regional incidence of disease with participants in a timely fashion, to allow the opportunity to put measures for disease prevention in place.


Finally, they will automate the analysis to allow for seamless incorporation of the information for participants followed by open enrollment for non-MSHMP participants once the methodology has been established.


After testing the concept, MSHMP has brought on a postdoctoral fellow who will be fully focused on accomplishing the project's objectives. Xiaomei Yue is an animal health economist with a focus on the production and economic effects of animal disease surveillance programmes on herds. She conducts retrospective and predictive research on disease surveillance programmes to provide decision makers with insights into more effective animal disease control programmes.


- Swine Health Information Center

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