July and August, 1997

Brucellosis eradication given emergency status

Despite tremendous progress in the national brucellosis eradication program, the nal phase is its biggest obstacle to meeting the December 31, 1998 deadline. Statisticians have advised ofcials at the United States Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Services (APHIS) that the current rate of brucellosis reduction will not allow that goal to be met. There is a strong push to eradicate the disease because the proposed federal budget for scal year 1999 will not include brucellosis eradication for the rst time in more than 40 years.

In order to overcome this obstacle and meet the goal, the Southern Animal Health Association (SAHA) met with APHIS ofcials on May 20, 1997 to develop an emergency action plan for the nal phase of the brucellosis eradication program. The 15 states comprising the SAHA include those with the remaining brucellosis infection. The plan reinforces the commitment of state and federal animal health ofcials to execute the actions required to eradicate this disease, which causes abortions in cattle.

"Everybody recommitted to do everything necessary to accomplish the goal of no infected herds," said Dr. J. Lee Alley, Alabama state veterinarian and president of the SAHA.

Meeting participants agreed on the following elements to reach and maintain this goal:

  • Rapid depopulation of all known infected herds. Roughly 75% of all infected herds remain infected month after month. Depopulating these herds, or sending the entire herd to slaughter, will help eliminate the risk of transmitting the disease to other herds and also will free up time and resources needed to look actively for remaining infection.
  • Intensify surveillance to identify remaining infection, with the hope of nding all infection by the end of 1997. Because brucellosis can be carried by animals for years before being detected, it is important to continue looking for the disease even after herds are depopulated. Primary surveillance methods include testing at the rst point of concentration, usually livestock markets; slaughter surveillance; and brucellosis ring testing of milk samples. Other methods include change-of-ownership testing, retests of previously infected herds and communities, and identifying and testing herds not entering into normal surveillance channels.

"We can't over-emphasize the importance of surveillance," said Dr. Claude Barton, the national brucellosis program director. "It will be the most critical issue in these last 19-and-a-half months."

The plan's actions cannot be enacted without cost. However, Dr. Joan Arnoldi, deputy administrator for APHIS, Veterinary Services, said resources should not limit eradication. "We can shift resources, we can shift people, we can do whatever it takes to get this job done," she said. "But people on the ground and in the eld have got to tell us what they need."

Responding to Arnoldi's assurance, state animal health ofcials agreed to review their respective state brucellosis programs within 30 days and determine what additional resources they will need to complete brucellosis eradication. At the same time, a review of slaughter plant surveillance will be initiated to determine its role and how to improve its cost effectiveness. In order to be sure that all infected herds have been identied, surveillance will continue after 1998.

Time intervals in the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) and the Uniform Methods and Rules (UM&R), traditionally used to guide the program, were established when the country had hundreds and even thousands of affected herds. Because these guidelines were set on a national average, they do not consider the disease an emergency, as does the new plan. Now, with less than 30 affected herds, these intervals need to be shortened, Barton said.

"The name of the game is 'urgent' from here on," Barton said. "Anything that pertains to brucellosis needs to be done urgentlymeaning do it now."

Call for papers to be presented in the Research Topics Session of the 1998 AASP Annual Meeting

Please submit a one-page abstract on applied research related to swine health and production issues (virology, bacteriology, parasitology, environment, food safety, odor) to:

Jeff Zimmerman, DVM
Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory
College of Veterinary Medicine
Iowa State University
Ames, IA 50011­1250

Please send electronic submissions to

Please include mailing address, phone, and fax numbers and your email address with each submission. No submissions will be accepted after August 15, 1997.

38th Annual George A. Young Swine Conference

The 1997 Annual George A. Young Conference will be held at the Nebraska Center for Continuing Education, 33rd and Holdrege Streets, Lincoln, Nebraska, on August 4­5, 1997.

The following is a list of eminent swine consultants, practitioners, and researchers and topics to be presented at this year's meeting:

  • Dr. William Mengeling
    Virus-induced reproductive diseases of swine
  • Dr. Allan Carlson
    PRRS breeding herd and piglet control
    Gilt acclimatization and isolation
  • Dr. H. Scott Hurd
    Update on the acute PRRS investigative study
  • Dr. Don Levis
    Troubleshooting reproductive problems when using AI
  • Dr. Tom Socha
    Muscle qualityImplications for the future
  • Dr. Robert Wills
    Pork Quality Assurance
  • Dr. Rick Koelsch
    Nutrient balance on Nebraska swine production systems
  • Dr. James Unwin
    On-farm trials$1000 emotional decisions
  • Dr. Mike Brumm
    Evaluating production contracts
  • Dr. Susanna VonEssen
    Respiratory risk of working in swine connement facilities

Registration if $100 if preregistered by July 22, or $115 at the door. Registration includes a luncheon, wine and cheese reception, wet labs, and proceedings.

For more information and registration materials, contact:

Mavis Seelmeyer
Department of Veterinary and Biomedical Sciences
151 VDC
University of Nebraska
Lincoln, NE 88583­0907

Tel: 402­472­8453
Fax: 402­472­3094

Leman Conference call for abstracts

The program for this year's Leman Swine Conference (September 19­23, Minneapolis Minnesota) has been nalized. We believe we will have our best program ever with 5 days of the latest scientic information relevant to our industry presented by 100 speakers from around the world.

A copy of the program is available at:

Printed copies are also available; contact Jan Swanson at 612-624-2268.

We have added a new feature this year that might interest you. We are inviting you to submit papers for a research abstract session. This session will run as one of the concurrent break-out sessions. Each presenter will have 10 minutes, plus 3 minutes for questions. All abstracts are to be one page in length and will be printed in a special supplement to the Leman Conference Proceedings. The deadline for submission is August 29 and presenters will be accepted on a rst-come basis.

If you are interested and have questions, please call our ofce for more information. We will also have additional information at the URL above in the near future.