Paul Sundberg, DVM, director of the Swine Health Information Center
Paul Sundberg, DVM, director of the Swine Health Information Center

The Swine Health Information Center (SHIC) recently funded a study to be conducted by Kansas State University researchers to investigate using dust samples to monitor for swine pathogens in U.S. feed mills. There is potential for the findings to lead to development of a diagnostic laboratory panel of assays where a single submitted swab of feed mill dust could be analyzed for multiple feed-based bacteria and viruses – a low-cost tool that could be used to help address feed safety.

This research will use Senecavirus A (SVA) to validate detection techniques. Transmission of SVA needs more research, including if feed plays a role, but this project will offer a look into prevalence and high-risk locations for SVA entry into the feed system, adding another piece of information about the virus. At the same time, this research could possibly lead to development of centralized protocols for dust sampling that can be a convenient and cost-effective surveillance tool for feed-based pathogens.

While the implications for the U.S. industry are clear, researchers are equally as interested in the outcomes in a broader application. These same tools and strategies can be employed to minimize the risk of foreign animal disease entry into feed mills – including for other viruses such as Foot and Mouth Disease.

For more information, visit http://www.swinehealth.org or contact Paul Sundberg, DVM, at psundberg@swinehealth.org.