Educational materials have been developed to ramp up awareness of classical swine fever (CSF) and complement the surveillance program that is in place, according to Harry Snelson, DVM, director of Communications for the American Association of Swine Veterinarians (AASV).

AASV, the National Pork Board and Iowa State University have joined in a cooperative agreement with the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to launch a new video on CSF that provides updated information. The video features a mock scenario of a hog farm in the Southeast, and how a mixed-practice veterinarian deals with a potential foreign animal disease introduction.

To add interest and harken back to the days when CSF or hog cholera was a concern in the United States, 3-D glasses must be worn to view the video shown by a special projector. There is some indication that viewers retain information presented in 3-D better than information viewed in conventional formats.

“CSF — The Differential We Can't Afford to Forget,” premiered at the AASV annual meeting in early March in Orlando, FL.

CSF may be confused with a variety of swine diseases, including acute pasteurellosis, African swine fever, erysipelas, Haemophilus parasuis, leptospirosis, porcine circovirus-associated disease, porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome, salmonellosis, Streptococcus suis and septicemias.

Production of the video arose out of a new CSF Surveillance Program that USDA has developed, says Dave Pyburn, DVM, of USDA's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service.

That new surveillance effort involves sampling from several populations in the field, including feral swine captured by Wildlife Services, diagnostic cases submitted to participating diagnostic laboratories, and slaughter swine that are condemned for diseases that look like CSF, he adds.

“We also wanted to educate veterinarians in particular on what CSF looks like and how it can mimic endemic diseases that we already have here; then, to make the surveillance effective, we want swine veterinarians to send in tonsils for testing with their diagnostic cases,” Pyburn stresses.

There are two reasons for submitting tonsils, he points out. First, the tonsil provides a good diagnostic sample for many swine diseases, and second, the USDA is in the process of validating a polymerase chain reaction test that can quickly test for the presence of CSF.

“That's why we want veterinarians to turn in tonsils so we can pull those out of diagnostic lab cases, and those pigs then become part of our surveillance stream under this CSF surveillance program,” Pyburn notes.

“The whole message is that veterinarians see certain diseases all of the time — salmonella, septicemia, etc., but they can't tell them apart from Classical Swine Fever,” explains Paul Sundberg, DVM, vice president of Science and Technology for the National Pork Board. “The only way you can tell is to send the tonsils to the diagnostic lab.”

“The point is that now, when the tonsil is submitted, it will be eligible to be tested for CSF through USDA's National Animal Health Lab,” adds Snelson.

When a diagnostic lab pulls a tonsil and submits it for the CSF Surveillance Program, the veterinarian submitting the tonsil will receive a $50 credit at the diagnostic lab as an incentive to participate, says Pyburn.

The surveillance program was launched last year, and about 8,000 nasal swabs and tonsils were submitted through diagnostic labs.

To further the CSF surveillance program, Pyburn says the new video will be shown at veterinary schools and veterinary meetings. Regional sessions for accredited veterinarians will also be conducted, some held in conjunction with state veterinary programs.

Plans are to also develop an interactive computerized module that would assist in tissue selection for specific disease diagnostics and aid in differentiating diseases such as for CSF, he says.