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NAHSS Activity Updates December 2009

AAVLD/USAHA Forms Subcommittee on National Animal Health Surveillance

At this year's annual joint meeting of the American Association of Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratories (AAVLD) and United States Animal Health Association (USAHA), the joint Animal Health Surveillance and Information Systems committee voted to form a USAHA/AAVLD National Animal Health Surveillance Systems Subcommittee. The former VS-sponsored and appointed National Animal Health Surveillance System (NAHSS) Steering Committee was folded into the new subcommittee. Drs. Francois Elvinger and Bruce Akey will co-chair the subcommittee. The composition of the new subcommittee will be similar to that of the NAHSS steering committee; the members will represent State, Federal, and wildlife animal health agencies, industry, academia, and veterinary diagnostic laboratory constituents. This subcommittee will continue to carry out many of the functions of the former NAHSS Steering Committee, including: ensuring consideration of all National Animal Health Safeguarding Review (2002) recommendations; interacting with constituencies and obtain stakeholder input and support; seeking outside expertise and help (panels and working groups; teams); and guiding research. The newly formed subcommittee will advocate for the NAHSS through the formal resolution process and represent USAHA in VS' 2015 planning efforts

Pseudorabies Virus (PRV) Surveillance Implementation Continues

APHIS continues to implement the concepts outlined in the Pseudorabies Virus (PRV) Surveillance Plan, developed in late 2007. APHIS is currently implementing those surveillance activity changes that do not conflict with existing PRV regulations. These changes allow for improved surveillance at less cost to the agency. APHIS staff is preparing proposed regulatory changes to allow full implementation of the PRV surveillance plan, which in the future will allow even greater cost savings while improving odds for rapid detection of new PRV infections in commercial swine herds.

Implementation of the surveillance plan started with consolidating testing of sow-boar slaughter surveillance serum samples to the Federal laboratories in Kentucky and Kansas. With consolidated testing, APHIS can accurately track the number of samples tested by State of origin. This ensures adequate sampling to meet individual state surveillance requirements under current PRV program standards. To minimize costs, samples in excess of State surveillance requirements are not tested.

APHIS is also initiating targeted PRV sampling of serology samples submitted to participating National Animal Health Laboratory Network (NAHLN) diagnostic labs for other animal health purposes. This surveillance stream utilizes existing samples for cost-efficient monitoring of the national swine population. Testing will be conducted and reported via existing NAHLN relationships, creating greater efficiencies in this growing APHIS partnership with the nation's animal health diagnostic infrastructure.

Finally, USDA-Agricultural Research Service researchers are completing validation of a PRV polymerase chain reaction (PCR) assay. Once validated, this APHIS-funded assay will be used to test tissues of sick pigs at diagnostic laboratories. This stream, when activated, will target tissue samples from sick pigs with PRV-compatible clinical sign for rapid detection of possible PRV infections in swine herds utilizing diagnostic labs.