Message from the State Veterinarian
Last year, the state of Indiana became the first of many to experience an outbreak of influenza between swine and people at exhibitions. The outbreak began at the county fair level and, although numerous measures were put into place for the State Fair, the virus continued to surface causing adjustments to the 2012 swine shows.
While the flu virus is common in both people and pigs, the fact that this illness spread so rapidly was concerning. At the opening of the 2012 Indiana State Fair, our agency took a proactive approach. BOAH established a protocol for check-in of 4-H swine to the Indiana State Fair that included temperature-checking all pigs entering the grounds.
Following fair season, the BOAH Swine Health Committee convened to review the 2012 experience and develop a set of recommendations for 2013. Show organizers were strongly encouraged to implement measures such as: monitoring swine health during the event, shortening the length of stay of the pigs, vaccinating the swine, and changing behaviors in and around the barns (such as eating or sleeping in animal areas).
While the adoption of these recommendations varies from county to county, many show organizers have made significant changes to how their 4-H exhibitions are operating this year.
Unfortunately, based on the first few weeks of the summer, the H3N2 virus has surfaced again this year in some fair pigs and fairgoers.
BOAH is working closely with the public health sector, communicating with state and local health departments, as well as the Centers for Disease Control. The effort is to monitor for and report any signs of flu-like illness in humans and animals.
Because influenza is relatively common in swine—and has been since the 1930s—swine exhibitors and fairgoers should assume the virus is present and act accordingly while visiting a fair. That means:
- Avoid eating, drinking, smoking and serving food in and around animal areas and barns;
- Keep sippy cups, pacifiers and similar items that will end up in a child’s mouth out of the barns;
- Don’t sleep in animals areas; and
- Wash hands with soap and water—not just sanitizer—after visiting a barn, even if animals weren’t handled directly.
Meanwhile, I encourage everyone to enjoy visiting the county fairs. Just do so safely. Fairs are a great Hoosier tradition, and these events provide 4-Hers unique opportunities to make memories and learn life lessons that come from caring for and showing animals.
Bret D. Marsh, DVM
Indiana State Veterinarian
BOAH Board Actions
DURING THEIR regular April 11, 2013 meeting, Board members:
- Conducted a public hearing and passed the equine piroplasmosis rule, which permanently repealed the testing requirement for horses entering Hoosier racing facilities; and
- Held a public hearing and passed the proposed amendments governing deer and elk health programs.
Next Quarterly Board meeting will be July 25, 2013.
As OF mid-June, the total number of active premises registered in Indiana is currently 58,479. By species, totals are: avian: 6,557; bovine: 21,319; camelids: 502; caprine: 8,529; cervids: 1357; equine: 8,279; fish: 1,415; ovine: 5,861; porcine: 9,464.
Pet owners should be advised of the problems that occur after pets have been exposed to blue-green algae. BOAH has already received one report this spring of a dog dying after swimming in a pond with the aquatic plant, which typically grows in stagnant bodies of water after long periods of hot weather. After pets swim in outdoor ponds or lakes (private or public), owners should bathe them to remove any possible algae that the animal(s) could ingest, causing illness and sudden death.
The restriction on rabies vaccine supplies for individuals needing a titer for working around animals has been lifted. The vaccine is expected to be available all season. Novartis (RabAvert) and Sanofi Pasteur (IMOVAX) products are available for pre-exposure and post-exposure prophylaxis, and can be purchased from wholesale distributors or directly from the company. Additional information on how and when to treat humans for rabies can be found on the Indiana State Department of Health’s website, www.in.gov/isdh/20518.htm.
The National Conference of Interstate Milk Shippers convened in Indianapolis for their biennial conference in April. The Dairy Division at BOAH served as the host. This group brings together dairy regulators from every state, as well as officials from the Food and Drug Administration. Together they discuss and vote on changes to the Pasteurized Milk Ordinance (PMO). The PMO regulates the standards for handling milk from the cow to the consumer for Grade A dairy products.
GRADE A dairy farms in Indiana total just over 1,200 at this time. These farms pump out nearly 11 million pounds of milk each day. Sixty-seven percent of that comes from Indiana’s 100 largest dairy farms. The 132 organic dairies in the state produce approximately 230,000 pounds of milk per day.
The Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development has adopted a policy officially recognizing herdshares in Michigan and allowing them to operate unregulated, as of March 2013. The policy follows the recommendations of the Michigan Fresh Unprocessed Whole Milk Workgroup which began in 2007 to study how to fulfill the demand from consumers, while mitigating as many health risks as possible. One result of the study was to allow herdshares.
Meat & Poultry
Cold plasma technology could be the newest tool in food safety. A Texas A&M researcher, Dr. Magesh Thiyagarajan, developed the new technology, which is stopping killer bacteria before they find a host. Traditional plasma, like we see in televisions and fluorescent lights, is made by heating gas molecules to form what appears to be colored rays of light. Dr. Thiyagarajan has created a way to do this without heat; thereby, introducing a cheaper method of food sterilization than those currently available.
To understand better the risk of food borne illness associated with listeriosis, USDA’s FSIS and the FDA developed a study and concluding recommendations for changes in current practices for foods prepared in retail delicatessens. The study discovered no single intervention strategy will put an end to listeria growth or transmission at retail delis. But many steps can be taken to reduce the risk. The key areas of mitigation include storage temperature, growth inhibitors, cross contamination, and contamination of incoming product. BOAH looks for FSIS to implement the new tactics in the near future.
Details outlining the new state chronic wasting disease (CWD) cervid rules will be going out to producers and veterinarians. After the USDA established new rules, Indiana had to modify current state standards to match the federal changes. Many of the changes affect the types of identification permissible and the requirements for interstate movement—all to limit the spread of CWD. The state rules take effect July 22, 2013. If a veterinarian who performs cervid work has not received a packet by that date, contact the BOAH office. Among the changes is a mandate that escaped cervids be reported to BOAH, not just DNR, within one business day, and CWD samples should be submitted to an approved laboratory within 7 days of collection. The cervid herd tags previously used by producers no longer meet the new criteria to be considered "official."
Veterinarians conducting cervid serum tuberculosis (TB) tests should have received a protocol letter late last winter. As a reminder, the serum must be shipped within 24 hours of collection. Those involved with the testing also need to read the USDA Guidance Document. It details the shipping protocol and sample submission form. Veterinarians who need a packet should call Ed Lucas at 317/544-2393.
Foreign Animal Diseases
Construction has finally begun on the new National Bio and Agro Defense Facility in Manhattan, KS. The lab will replace the current structure located in Plum Island, NY. The Kansas lab will be a biosafety level 4 facility, which will help develop research and countermeasures to fight foreign animal diseases and emerging diseases. The first portion to be built is a central utilities plant, which should be finished in October 2015. Officials hope to begin building the main laboratory in May 2014, with completion in 2020.
Arkansas recently dealt with an outbreak of low-pathogency avian flu virus H7N7. The infection was found in one commercial broiler breeder flock in Scott County, AR. The approximately 10,000 birds in the house were depopulated and a control zone was established for further testing. The source of infection is believed to be an outdoor pond that is pumped into the chicken houses to supply the water source for the birds.
Indiana has been involved in the outbreak of porcine epidemic diarrhea (PEDv). The virus, which causes diarrhea, vomiting and dehydration in pigs—particularly piglets whose immune system can be weak—was initially found in May in Indiana and Iowa. Thirteen states are now confirmed to have cases, as of the end of June. While not considered a reportable disease by the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE), PEDv is a foreign animal disease to the United States. Due to this outbreak, and its impact on the health of infected herds, Mexico is now banning imports of U.S. breeding hogs.
State fair check-in of swine will again undergo changes this year in response to the influenza situation of 2012. This year, exhibitors will be allowed to check in anytime from 6:00 a.m. on Wed., July 31 until 1:00 p.m. on Thurs., Aug. 1. The 4-H exhibitor or another responsible party will be checking the temperature of all their pigs brought on to the fairgrounds. All animals must arrive with an 840 radio frequency identification (RFID) already in place. The RFID tag will be scanned while the temperature is being taken, or when their ear notches are verified. In addition, The Ohio State University will be collecting samples from each registered pig to check for the presence of influenza for research purposes. This process will be completed using a sample collected by wiping the pig’s snout. These samples will be frozen following collection and will not be tested until after the State Fair is over.
Effective immediately, the Scrapie Flock Certification Program (SFCP) has changed. The Complete Monitored category has been eliminated. Flock owners must now choose between the Export category or the Select category—depending upon their needs for international movement. Producers in the Monitored category must notify BOAH whether or not they want to remain in the program and, if so, which program by Oct. 31. If BOAH does not receive any notification, the office will remove a producer from the program. Questions should be directed to Dr. Cheryl Miller, 317/402-1527, or Jenny Price, 317/694-3550.
The BOAH office would like to officially announce the addition of Kara Hammes to the staff. Kara is the new Animal Health Programs director. She will oversee in-office details of health and identification programs, supervise administrative staff and support field veterinarians. Kara has her Masters of Public Health degree and comes to the agency from the Indiana State Department of Health. Kara is not new to BOAH, as she was an intern in the summer of 2008.
Global VetLink recently announced the release of the new HealthLINK program. The new system has a more mobile-friendly and faster user interface. The eCVIs can now be tracked electronically and accommodate an unlimited number of any species. More information on HealthLINK can be read at www.globalvetlink.com/our-solutions.
Indiana now has an eCVI available to veterinarians. Indiana’s template was created by Dr. Marianne Ash based on a template from Kansas and Colorado. While the new technology is free to use, the GlobalVetLINK eCVI is still easier for BOAH to upload information into our USAHERDS database. Interested veterinarians need to contact Dr. Ash, firstname.lastname@example.org, for additional information.