Comprehensive List of Research Gaps Developed to Facilitate Japanese Encephalitis Risk Reduction

Farmscape for April 28, 2023

Full Interview 10:02 Listen

The Executive Director of the Swine Health Information Center suggests a better understanding of the epidemiology of Japanese Encephalitis is needed to halt its spread and minimise its impact. The Swine Health Information Center and its industry partners have compiled a comprehensive list of research gaps to facilitate next steps in the ongoing efforts aimed reducing the risk of Japanese encephalitis introduction and spread. SHIC Executive Director Dr. Paul Sundberg says the things we need to learn as quickly as possible is all things about the epidemiology of the virus.

Clip-Dr. Paul Sundberg-Swine Health Information Center:
When this was introduced into Australia it was a different experience than what they’ve been having in Japan. It spread quickly and it caused different clinical outcomes on different farms.

One farm may be very devastated.
Another may have one case and go on with production just like normal. So, there was a variety of different issues there that were going on that we’re trying to understand. We’ve got to understand that in order to understand how stop it.
Diagnostics is another very high priority. USDA is now working on a diagnostic test that can look for the antigen and we’ve got a project with Iowa State University that is helping to supplement that. Diagnostics both as looking for the antigen as well as looking for the antibodies and differentiating those from the antibodies of West Nile virus, from St Louis encephalitis and other types of those. Then of course there’s always the interest in vaccines. Do we have a safe and effective vaccine to help us in production and help us tamp that virus down should it get here? Of course, we’re not going to vaccinate all the waterfowl but we may be able to help stop this virus or slow it down by vaccinating pigs.

Dr. Sundberg notes an updated risk assessment being undertaken by Kansas State University looking at pathways of introduction to help identify areas on which to focus to try to prevent the entry of the virus is expected to be completed by this summer.

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