USDA publishes final traceability rule

The USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service has published the final rule amending the regulations to establish minimum national official identification and documentation requirements for the traceability of livestock moving interstate.

Unless specifically exempted, livestock belonging to species covered by the regulations and moved interstate must be officially identified and accompanied by an interstate certificate of veterinary inspection or other documentation. These regulations specify approved forms of official identification for each species, but allow the livestock covered under this rulemaking to be moved interstate with another form of identification, as agreed upon by animal-health officials in the shipping and receiving states or tribes. The purpose of this rulemaking is to improve the ability to trace livestock in the event that disease is found.

See the “Advocacy in action” column in this issue of the Journal of Swine Health and Production for more information pertaining to swine veterinarians. The complete text of the rule is available on the AASV Web site (aasv.org) under the Advocacy tab on the home page.

Researchers awarded NIFA grant to study PRRS

The US Department of Agriculture’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture has awarded a team of researchers a 5-year $3 million grant to study genetic resistance to porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome (PRRS) and transfer this technology to the industry. The researchers, led by Jack Dekkers, an Iowa State University (ISU) professor of animal science, will seek to identify genes in pigs that make them less susceptible to PRRS. The disease costs US pork producers an estimated $664 million a year.

The collaborative effort, led by ISU researchers, will also include researchers at Kansas State University, the University of Minnesota, the US Department of Agriculture, the Roslin Institute in Scotland, and industry collaborators. This project builds on previous and ongoing work by the same team of researchers and is a continuation of USDA-supported research funded through the PRRS Coordinated Agricultural Program, which will end in 2013.

Iowa State University faculty will lead the project and conduct most of the data analyses, while the other institutions will conduct the experimental portion and be involved in the extension and education functions of the proposed work.

New Swine Information Library content available

If you are an AASV member and you renewed your membership for 2013, you have access to NEW content in the Swine Information Library (aasv.org/library/swineinfo/). If you haven’t renewed your membership, now is the time to do so, at: http://ecom.aasv.org/membership.

What’s new in the swine info library? We’ve added the 2012 George Young Conference, Leman Conference, IPVS, and ISU Swine Conference proceedings. The 2013 AASV Annual Meeting proceedings and seminar papers will be made available following the annual meeting as well.

To view and access ALL of the Swine Information Library content, go to aasv.org/library/swineinfo/. To search for a specific topic, enter your keywords into the search box in the blue AASV Web site banner and click “Go.” The search engine automatically includes the Swine Information Library content in the search results. You’ll need your AASV username and password to access the content. For assistance, contact the AASV at 515-465-5255 or aasv@aasv.org.

Alternate Student Delegate selected for AASV Board

The AASV Student Recruitment Committee selected Amy Daniels (University of Illinois, 2015) as the incoming Alternate Student Delegate to the AASV Board of Directors.

Amy grew up on a “small family farm” where she developed an interest in production-animal medicine. She earned an animal science degree (with a minor in chemistry) at the University of Illinois in 2011. During her undergraduate years, she had an opportunity to complete an internship with The Maschhoffs, which fueled her passion for herd medicine. This past summer, Amy participated in a research externship with Boehringer Ingelheim and Pipestone Veterinary Clinic, which will result in the presentation of a poster at the 2013 AASV Annual Meeting in San Diego.

Amy will assume the duties of alternate student delegate during the 2013 AASV Annual Meeting. The former alternate delegate, Joshua Duff (North Carolina State University, 2014), will ascend to the delegate position. Joshua and Amy will represent student interests within AASV as non-voting members of the board of directors and the student recruitment committee.

Please join us in welcoming Amy to the AASV Board of Directors!

NAHLN swine surveillance update

The National Animal Health Laboratory Network (NAHLN) has collaborated with other groups within Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, the National Veterinary Services Laboratories (NVSLs), Wildlife Services, National Surveillance Unit, National Center for Animal Health Programs, and the National Center for Animal Health Emergency Management, to implement surveillance programs. Currently, NAHLN laboratories are participating in surveillance programs for bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE), classical swine fever (CSF), scrapie, swine influenza virus (SIV), and swine pseudorabies virus (PRV).

NAHLN laboratories play a critical role in veterinary services surveillance programs by providing rapid standardized testing and results reporting for the above-mentioned diseases that are targeted in national animal disease surveillance initiatives. The following report highlights the testing results for fiscal year (FY) 2012.

Classical swine fever surveillance

The CSF surveillance program was initiated in 2006 to rapidly detect CSF virus and monitor the risk of introduction of the virus into the US swine herd. The surveillance program targets five specific swine populations for testing:

  •  Sick-pig submissions to veterinary diagnostic laboratories (VDLs)
  •  Slaughter swine with high risk of CSF exposure
  •  Feral swine
  •  Swine populations (including waste-feeding operations) with high risk of CSF exposure in Florida, Texas, and Puerto Rico
  •  Swine highly suspicious for CSF and entered into a Foreign Animal Disease Investigation

NAHLN laboratories conduct CSF surveillance testing, and NVSL’s Foreign Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory is the CSF reference and confirmatory laboratory. In FY 2012, 19 NAHLN laboratories provided diagnostic testing for the CSF surveillance program.

Table 1 shows the number of animals tested for CSF by NAHLN laboratories in three surveillance target populations in FY 2011 and FY 2012. Feral swine test counts are not included here and waste feeder/high-risk data are not available.

Table 1: Number of swine tested for classical swine fever (CSF) by the National Animal Health Laboratory Network in 2011 and 2012*

CSF surveillance stream

FY 2011

FY 2012

Sick pigs submitted to VDLs



High-risk slaughter swine†






* Feral-swine test counts not included.
† Waste-feeder operations not included.
FY = fiscal year; VDLs = veterinary diagnostic laboratories.

Swine influenza virus surveillance

The goals of the SIV surveillance program are

  1. to monitor the genetic evolution of endemic SIVs to better understand endemic and emerging influenza virus ecology,
  2. to make SIV isolates and associated epidemiologic data available for research and analysis, and
  3. to select proper isolates for the development of relevant diagnostic reagents and for updating diagnostic assays and vaccine seed-stock products.

The program was initiated in May 2009 with a focus on monitoring the pandemic H1N1 2009 virus [pH1N1 (2009)] in swine. As the human health threat of pH1N1 (2009) declined in 2010, SIV surveillance efforts were re-focused on monitoring all current circulating SIVs. Also in 2010, an anonymous submission protocol was adopted to encourage more industry participation and increase the number of samples available for monitoring SIV in the US swine herd. Swine influenza virus surveillance efforts are targeted towards these three swine populations:

  •  Case-compatible sick-pig submissions to VDLs
  •  Swine exhibiting influenza-like illness at first points of concentration or commingling events, ie, markets, fairs
  •  Swine populations that are epidemiologically linked to confirmed human cases involving SIV

NAHLN laboratories conduct SIV surveillance for the above-mentioned streams. The NVSL Diagnostic Virology Laboratory in Ames, Iowa, is the SIV confirmatory laboratory.

Testing results for SIV reported by NAHLN laboratories in FY 2011 and FY 2012

Table 2 shows the number of herds (accessions) tested, number of influenza-positive herds, and number of herds with virus subtyping results reported in FY 2011 and FY 2012.

Table 2: Numbers of swine herds tested for swine influenza virus by National Animal Health Laboratory Network laboratories in fiscal year (FY) 2011 and FY 2012

Quarter of FY

No. accessions tested

No. influenza-positive accessions*

No. accessions with typing results reported

















FY 2011 total




















FY 2012 total




* Influenza-positive accessions were those with samples that had positive matrix assay results.

Subtyping results for 979 accessions were reported in FY 2012. Mixed subtyping results (including multiple subtypes present and dual positives) were reported in 36 accessions.

The frequency of SIV virus subtypes collected as part of SIV surveillance in FY 2012 is as follows: H1N1 (n = 217), H3N2 (n = 218), H1N2 (n = 173), and mixed (n = 36). Note: If an accession has samples with more than one subtype, it is counted in each subtype group.

Pseudorabies virus surveillance

The PRV surveillance program was initiated in 2009 as an extension of USDA’s successful PRV eradication efforts. The program gathers surveillance data to support three specific objectives: rapidly detect PRV entry and infection in US commercial swine, demonstrate freedom from PRV in commercial herds, and monitor domestic sources of PRV.

Targeted populations (surveillance streams):

  •  Investigation and diagnosis of suspicious PRV cases
  •  Sick-pig submissions to VDLs
  •  Herds participating in routine serology and herd profiling
  •  Herds classified as high risk
  •  Herds with reported exposure to feral swine
  •  Cull sows and boars at slaughter
  •  Market swine at slaughter
  •  Feral swine

Pseudorabies-virus-approved NAHLN laboratories test serologic samples from domestic swine for four targeted PRV surveillance populations: sick-pig submissions, routine serology and herd profiling, high-risk swine populations, and swine with known feral-swine exposure. NAHLN laboratories also conduct PRV testing for domestic swine samples that are submitted as part of epidemiologic traceback investigations. Fourteen NAHLN laboratories conducted PRV surveillance sample testing in domestic swine in FY 2012, and two conducted PRV testing on feral swine samples. The NVSL Diagnostic Virology Laboratory serves as the national reference laboratory and performs confirmatory testing for suspect and positive submissions for PRV.

In FY 2011and FY 2012, totals of 335,290 and 314,585 swine samples, respectively, were tested under the PRV surveillance program in the following streams: diagnostic laboratory serologic submissions, sow-boar slaughter, and market slaughter. NAHLN laboratories tested 27,994 and 23,545 swine for the PRV diagnostic laboratory stream in FY 2011 and FY 2012, respectively.

Source: NAHLN Quarterly Newsletter

AASV committees to meet at annual meeting

The AASV committees will meet again this year on Saturday morning, March 2, at the AASV Annual Meeting in San Diego, California. All committee members are encouraged to attend. The meeting times are shown in the chart to the right. Meeting locations and agendas are posted online at aasv.org/annmtg/2013/CommitteeMeetings.php. Clicking on the committee name will allow AASV members to access the meeting agenda.

All AASV committee meetings are open to any AASV member; only active committee members are allowed to vote, however. A complete list of committees can be found on the AASV Web site under the AASV menu tab. If you are interested in joining a committee, please contact the committee chair or the AASV staff.