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SHIC: Understanding African Swine Fever at the farm-level

Source: Wikimedia Commons

The Swine Health Information Center, established in 2015, strives to “protect and enhance the health of the United States swine herd.” It’s latest focus: The African Swine Fever virus (ASFV), which made its second transcontinental spread in 2007.

Dr. Paul Sundberg, Swine Health Information Center executive director, recently spoke to his organization’s pulse on emerging diseases, such as African Swine Fever, at the annual National Association of Farm Broadcasting Convention.

“In 2019 – with the help of the National Pork Producers Council – the Center (received) a grant from USDA Foreign Animal Service to investigate African Swine Fever in Vietnam, as the outbreak is happening. The issue, what we submitted for the grant, was that we can study African Swine Fever in the laboratory, but we don’t have a good way to study it on the farm,” Dr. Sundberg says.

Dr. Sundberg admits: Coronavirus has affected the study. He adds, however, “It’s moving on; we’re getting work done.”

“There’s no doubt that it has affected it,” Dr. Sundberg says. “The epidemic caused universities we’ve contracted to manage these projects to scatter, to spread out. That put things behind.”

Project organizers continue to focus on “educational programs, webinars, and seminars” to assist Vietnamese producers with identification and control. Another component is “learning about the outbreak on-farm and how the virus works.”

The Swine Health Information Center reached the halfway point with this project, but also has other irons in the fire, which we will discuss at a later date.

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