The Swine Health Information Center (SHIC) announces the development of a new project. The project, to be unveiled in 2018, is a near real-time monitoring system for swine diseases around the world.
The system will include identification of potential hazards linked to new diseases and changes in current disease status. It will also provide screening steps to evaluate the information. Swine Health Information Center Executive Director Paul Sundberg said the system will help prepare the U.S. pork industry for the introduction of a disease and/or a potential disease outbreak.
“We knew the Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea (PED) virus was circulating in China before it got to the United States, and we didn’t do anything about it. This is an effort to not repeat those mistakes,” Sundberg said. “If we’re going to be better prepared, if we’re going to do something about a risk of importation or emergence of disease in the United States, we need to know what those risks are. We need to better identify what we could be at risk of. This is an effort to do that. It’s looking over the hill, around the world to monitor changes in swine disease patterns.”
Sundberg also said the system will provide the U.S. pork industry with the tools needed to respond to a disease or disease outbreak in a timely manner through near real-time data.
“There’s soft sources, which could be newspaper articles, magazine articles, or communications among veterinarians or producers around the world, (contain) information about something that might be happening and has not been officially verified or confirmed. The second stream of information is hard sources, or more official notifications between governments or from another country. The issue with the official information stream is it may be months before something becomes official, depending on the disease. The other information needs to have verifications, or some follow-up, but can be much more real-time, closer to the pig and closer to the farm,” Sundberg said.
After the SHIC collects both sources of information, they will give the information to experts, who will then analyze the swine health information and put it into context. The University of Minnesota and USDA/APHIS Center for Epidemiology and Animal Health, who has a similar system, will provide collaboration on the project.
Initially, the SHIC plans to update their information once a month. As time goes on, the SHIC hopes to update the information more frequently and provide producers online access to the swine health information.