USDA Scrapie Report

For those of you with interests in sheep and goats, the May 2015 Report of the National Scrapie Eradication Program was posted recently.

Some specific points:

  • Thirty two positive cases, 30 sheep and 2 goats, have been reported in FY 2015. (That’s the federal govt fiscal year which begins Oct 1.)
  • Twenty six of the positive sheep were from the same source flock.
  • As of May 31, 2015, 26,894 animals have been sampled for scrapie testing in FY 2015

There are also several maps in the report.

HPAI This Week

USDA now has mapping of the HPAI epidemic available on the web. The states are color-coded temporally – different colors representing days since last positive detection.

Also if you mouse over any state, a text box will pop up showing the number of confirmed reports in that state along with the exact number of days since the last positive was reported.

World Pork Expo-More Than Just A Show

After becoming a subscribee to the Pork Checkoff magazine, I received an advertisement via email for the world pork expo. I brushed it off thinking it would not help me much in my position as your AZDA-PEDV outreach staff member.

Well about 7 days prior to the meeting I received another offer to get the app on my phone. So, intrigued by the offer, I looked into it a little more and much to my surprise, there was a whole lot more to this expo than what I thought. I requested to be a part of this experience and was not let down by the educational pieces this expo provided.

Some of the classes I attended reiterated the same information we’ve been hearing for the last year; such as the way PEDV entered into the US is still unknown, 100% mortality rate in piglets from birth to approximately 7 days and the rapid spread through the US was via livestock trailers.

However, presenters mentioned why we are seeing a decrease is largely in part due to understanding the means of transmission, research on disinfectants, additional truck washes, feed changes and herd immunity.

The better news was hearing about the effectiveness of the Harris Vaccine aka rapid response (RP) prescription vaccines. These are DIVA (Differentiating Infected from Vaccinated Animals) compatible. They initiate humoral and cellular immune response and are a multivalent vaccine (customized vaccination to what is currently going on in herd). The vaccination has a rapid response hence the reason for prescription because they will need heavy monitoring and the vaccine can be made herd specific in 6-8 weeks.

Dr. M.T. Rodibaugh (a presenter) discussed a study that’s being conducted on 6 different US herds they couldn’t get cleaned up from PEDV. During his time of trying to get it cleaned up, they discovered passive iatrogenic immunity passed via milk was not permanent and gut to mammary secretory IgA axis carried immunity to more distant sites. He stated prior to the Harris Vaccination, they were weaning approximately 2.4% and had approximately a 78.3% mortality rate. After the Harris Vaccine given 7-10 days pre farrow, they increased the amount of piglets in weaning to 10.3 % and a huge decrease to 10.8% mortality rate. There was a mention of Harris vaccine vs. the Zoetis vaccine and it was said they both had a good response, however Harris appeared to present a higher yield of immunity after only 1 vaccination.

Another speaker Dr. Dante J. Palabrica from the Philippines discussed a Harris vaccine study conducted on a >200,000 pig farm where their process is farm to fork meaning they breed, raise and slaughter their own. He discussed their rigorous biosecurity measures that also included banning their workers from eating pork meat products, color coded uniforms and slippers for individual units, and he still had large amounts of losses from his herd until they started utilizing the Harris Vaccine. His comment was post vaccinations with the Harris Vaccines, they saw higher antibodies in the colostrum and a huge decrease in mortality rates.

On a different note, the Swine Health Information Center presented on a new defense for the industry and primarily hit home on preparedness since the pathway of induction for PEDV to the US is still unknown, he advised we should be prepared for the next disease to hit because it is coming (look at Avian Influenza). There was emphasis placed on the farmers understanding that USDA alone cannot respond to emerging diseases and the industry needs to take more responsibility for non-regulatory diseases. There needs to be better state-federal-industry response coordination as this is essential to combating many of upcoming diseases. There was also discussion about funding that is currently being set aside to create a liaison group between farmers and government to protect personal information from public record.

One of the last classes I attended was one on planning for an emergency mass-depopulation of swine in response to a foreign animal disease outbreak. The discussion was primarily focusing on an in ground pit or dump truck as a means of a chamber and using CO2 gas to induce mass humane euthanasia because of its anesthetic properties, availability, cost and ease of use. One concern they addressed is temperature of the gas and methods to decrease pressure at a low cost which entailed an enclosed propane take with a heat source, specific valves, cinder blocks and +/- a reservoir bag. The methodology was presented in detail and quite lengthy but, it is quite doable in the event we should have to succumb to these circumstances.

In conclusion, the World Pork Expo is far more than a show with multiple pork industry exhibitors. There was definitely something to be learned by a multitude of individuals and if that wasn’t enough; the scenery was fantastic and the free all-you-can-eat barbecue pulled pork sandwiches, ribs, BACON and all the fixin’s, I would hope entice you for a visit to learn more about current happenings in the swine industry next year.

HPAI Traces From IA Into AZ

For those of you who are wondering about the situation concerning poultry shipments into AZ, here’s the latest information on the poultry and game bird chicks and eggs shipped from an IA farm which later broke with HPAI.

The Mohave County birds all tested negative for HPAI and Newcastle disease (another bird disease which is very similar to avian influenza for which we monitor) on initial testing. Virus isolation tests are being conducted to ensure no latent infection is present. This will take a few weeks. Rarely will samples that are negative on screening tests show a positive result on virus isolation, but it is possible.  So these results are helpful and encouraging, but not yet final.

The eggs which were shipped to Santa Cruz County were taken from Arizona to Mexico.

The eggs which were shipped to Yavapai County were seized per statutory authorities provided under ARS §§ 3-1203 et seq and subsequently destroyed.

The owner of the chicks shipped to Pinal County opted for USDA indemnification. Those birds and other birds living in that coop were humanely euthanized. Other birds on the premises are being tested.

All quarantines remain in place until the state vet is satisfied there is no threat to the poultry industries in the state.

The spread of HPAI does seem to be slowing in the upper midwest. But please continue to be vigilant and exercise caution when you consider buying birds or hatching eggs.

Kearney River Fire

Did you know the folks in the Department’s Livestock Service and the State Vet’s Office respond to various disasters?

On Wednesday June 17, 2015 around 3:30 pm, Arizona Department of Agriculture received a phone call from the Pinal County Sheriff’s Dispatcher requesting assistance near the town of Kearny with livestock which were threatened by the Kearny River Fire.

By 7:00 pm, ADA-Animal Services Division had deployed 5 Livestock Officers, 3 Livestock Inspectors (including one with a horse and roping experience), 1 Assistant State Veterinarian, 8 trucks, 6 livestock trailers, 1 mobile veterinary unit and 1 Incident Response trailer.

The ADA response team was dismissed at noon on Thursday June 18, 2015.  During deployment, ADA personnel assisted several area residents with fire-related livestock issues including evacuating livestock, providing veterinary medical assistance, and escorting residents to retrieve feed and to check on the status of livestock left in evacuated areas.

Thanks to all folks and organizations who responded and provided assistance.


VSV Dwindling

Our Vesicular Stomatitis Virus (VSV) outbreak continues to dwindle (hopefully away soon.)

At this time we have one quarantine in place in central Arizona in the vicinity of the Verde River. We also have one now near the Salt River in Mesa, not too very far from one of the earliest positives.

We have had much fewer reports over the last several weeks. But it seems we are not past this outbreak just yet. I’ll also add just a word of caution, the folks in TX and NM have also had a couple more cases show up in the last week.

Bug Borne Disease Update

A couple of points from a report AZ Dept Health Services released yesterday concerning what’s going on in 2015:

  • 34 mosquito pools have tested positive for West Nile virus; all positive pools were identified in Maricopa County
  • 13 confirmed or probable cases of Rocky Mountain Spotted-Fever (RMSF)
  • 14 suspect cases of RMSF

Keep those mosquitoes and ticks at bay!

VSV Update

Our VSV situation definitely seems to be winding down. Now let’s hope it goes away completely!

We had 1 new suspect case reported last week in the general vicinity of the Verde River in central AZ. Along with just a few reported the last week of May.

At the moment we are looking promising (NO GUARANTEES) for having no VSV quarantines in about one more week.

National Weekly VSV Situational Report

Feral Swine Damage

USDA APHIS has announced its Final Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) on Feral Swine Damage Management Program. In it, 5 alternatives are offered for controlling this growing problem.

A synopsis of the situation and of the EIS can be found by following that link. On that page you will find a link to the entire EIS.

A brief summary of the alternatives offered:

  • Alternative 1. Current APHIS Feral Swine Damage Management Program (Current APHIS FSDM Program (No Action Alternative). This alternative continues prior research efforts and feral swine damage management programs (State, Territory and local level programs).
  • Alternative 2. Integrated APHIS Feral Swine Damage Management Program (Preferred Alternative). This alternative is described above.
  • Alternative 3. Baseline APHIS FSDM Program. This alternative emphasizes baseline operational capacity to maximize the abilities of the APHIS-WS State programs to build infrastructure and offer cost-share opportunities to address feral swine damage in States, Territories and Tribal lands with feral swine.
  • Alternative 4. National and Strategic Local Projects Program. This alternative places emphasis on national FSDM projects and strategic local projects. Funding would not be allocated to establish baseline capacity in all States with feral swine, but would focus on National and strategic local projects selected for their ability to help achieve National goals of containing and eradicating feral swine.
  • Alternative 5. Federal FSDM Grant Program. This alternative would distribute National APHIS FSDM Program funding to States, Territories, Tribes, organizations representing Native peoples, and research institutions based on proposed projects that meet program needs as identified for Alternative 2.  All feral swine control actions would be implemented by grant recipients or their agents.  APHIS’ role would be administrative.