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FFL-JA-Forskningsmidlene for jordbruk og matindustri

PreparePig: Preparing the Norwegian pig population for control of emerging and re-emerging diseases

Alternative title: PreparePig: Beredskap og kontroll av eksisterende og nye eksotiske sykdommer i den norske svinepopulasjonen

Awarded: NOK 2.2 mill.

PreparePig–Developing knowledge to strengthen control and preparedness for diseases in Norwegian swine production The Norwegian pig population has a highly favorable health status, with low consumption of antimicrobials and a documented freedom from several important pathogens. Maintaining the excellent health status of Norway’s pigs is important for animal welfare, national food security, and competitiveness in international trade. The research project, PreparePig, has the goal of improving the health status of Norway’s pig population by establishing highly effective diagnostic methods and developing new knowledge about contact networks and important infection control measures in the swine industry. The project will introduce a new multiplex assay for detecting antibodies from saliva samples collected on ropes that farmers can mount in pig enclosures. Rope sampling has the potential to test multiple individuals using the same sample and is less invasive than blood sampling. An advantage using a multiplex assay is that it detects antibodies for multiple pathogens at the same time. The method delivers fast and accurate results, and we can apply it to more herds for better documentation of the health status. PreparePig will shed light on control practices in different categories of herds (breeding herds, finishing herds, and small-scale production) and analyze movement patterns to identify herd types that have a higher risk of introducing or spreading diseases. The project will design targeted campaigns to prevent the spread of infectious diseases. Through simulations, we will test how changes in trade patterns, new control measures and improved monitoring, can delay or reduce disease spread. For simulating disease spread, PreparePig will develop a model to evaluate infection prevention and control strategies. The model will utilize a large amount of animal health data and provide a tool for the industry and the authorities to use for preparedness in the future.

The Norwegian pig population has a highly favourable health status, with low consumption of antimicrobials and a documented freedom from several important swine pathogens. This gives the Norwegian pig breeding organization a strong competitive advantage on the international market. PreparePig aims to protect the pig population from the threat of diseases by 1) improving diagnostic methods, 2) generating knowledge of biosecurity practices, and 3) providing collaborative solutions for disease prevention measures, as well as, outbreak management tools using animal health data. PreparePig will develop multiplex assays using oral fluid samples to provide results that are rapid, accurate, and cost-effective. This will lead to more comprehensive testing and earlier detection of emerging diseases, reducing the risk of major economic losses due to disease outbreaks. PreparePig will characterize the biosecurity levels across different pig herd categories to implement targeted campaigns to improve biosecurity. By analysing animal movement data, we will identify holding types with a potentially higher risk for introduction or spread of diseases. In addition, a transmission model will be implemented for an emerging viral disease (PRRSV). We will use scenario simulations to investigate the effects of prevention measures, such as changes in trade patterns, increased biosecurity, and increased surveillance, on the simulated spread of disease. By cooperating with stakeholders in designing prevention and control options, we will identify realistic measures. PreparePig will produce research-based knowledge about vulnerabilities in pig holdings that can be translated into better preparedness for the Norwegian pig population. We will establish a transmission model as a tool for evaluating prevention and control strategies, that will further facilitate the use of animal health related data, and be an important management deliverable for the industry and the authorities.

Funding scheme:

FFL-JA-Forskningsmidlene for jordbruk og matindustri