Iowa Swine Day 2020 Week 1 – Battling ASFV in China: The challenges, risks, and rewards

[UPBEAT INSTRUMENTAL MUSIC.] SPEAKER JOSEPH YAROS: Well, with that I appreciate the introduction and as was stated I have been working with Pipestone for the past four years I graduated from vet school in 2016 and have uh had the opportunity to go back and forth to China for the past three years I would say but given the travel implications of COVID since uh January of this year it’s made travel substantially more difficult so been communicating with the the staff that I work with in in China on a regular basis but have not necessarily been able to travel back and forth since January given the unfortunate ripple effect of uh of COVID that we are all familiar with today So today my plan was to go through the movement of ASF through China in a quick timeline then go through a number of different cases that I have experienced throughout the country and then we’ll go through what would be some protocols to reduce the the risk and the spread and then kind of similar what Christine was going over, uh, some expectations for the future and I think we both have similar expectations the the question is truly just what the timeline is there’s no way to truly know that until we get there but we will have to wait and see what happens So first and foremost people are probably wondering why specifically I have been traveling back and forth to China, and uh and truthfully it’s because uh Dr. Gordon Spronk one of the veterinarians working with Pipestone had a really good relationship with Doc, with the late Bob Morrison who uh originally traveled back and forth to China with the U.S. Grains Council and with that had a number of different connections and we were able to do some consulting work over there until in 2009 started a management company similar to here in the United States then had the opportunity to gain some farm ownership in 2012 and today we would have more than 300 staff working uh throughout the country uh be managing and have ownership in some level of 60,000 sows and like I said I’d be communicating with the China team daily so looking at uh the movement of the virus through China so at this point we’re coming up on almost two years since ASF entered uh China. First and foremost the original case would have happened in Liaoning province on August 3rd back in 2018 and then it traveled over to Hanan and then over to Jiangsu and then traveled south uh consistently so if you look at the map of China originally in in quarter 3 of 2018 the virus would have entered the northeast part of China and then over the course of what would have been the next three months until it started getting cold it kind of stayed within the northeast part of China and then really as it started getting cold and winter happened it began to move south and after six months and by the time March of 2019 rolled around it had moved through the the southern part of China all the way to Yunnan and Guangdong and then had moved back north and I I would say as of last summer it’s fair to say that it has become endemic in almost every single province throughout the country and has continued to remain a problem daily And with that the location that I would spend most of my time center part of China on the right side, um would be in Shandong province which you can see is in the and right near where the ocean is and as I stated moved substantially through the country in the winter of 2018-2019 that’s really unfortunately where our and or my story began with a number of different cases we’re starting off with some sow farm case examples it’s first important I think to look at the basic epidemiology of the virus and it but from the time point in which an animal is exposed to the virus takes 3 and 15 days before those animals will truly somewhere between show symptoms so you can have it moving through your population for a week to without truly knowing uh and and will two weeks not see any clinical issues with that if you were to test those animals the published data would say that you can find it in blood before you can find it in what would be oral fluids

or in saliva but our field observations would tell us that this is inaccurate we can actually find it blood in oral fluids prior to finding it in replication of the virus traveling that may be due somewhat to the the directly through the tonsils and with that people have adapted a number of testing protocols specifically to what would be the oral testing mechanism if we look at what a farm would have in China generally it would have the gestation barn farrowing houses also to limit what would be any sort of have a boar stud on site usually semen coming in and out of the site it the location of the sow farm there would would all be present in be dorms for the staff to stay for a long period of time as well as a guard which would allow this area people inside the wall to even come into have a compost to and then similar to in the United States compost the mortality and then have an isolation barn in case any new animals story here were going to come in and starting the we ended up originally seeing clinical one of the gestation barns and one of signs the farrowing houses we were optimistic to say that well hopefully it’s not going to travel but within uh 24 to 48 hours we started seeing clinical signs in the other barns and at that point we had to make a tough decision but the very interesting thing about this virus which is completely different from viruses that we would deal with here in the United States primarily being influenza and PRRS movement it moves much more slowly and we actually over the course of the entire timeline of us experiencing this tragedy and then also the depopulation, disposal and going through then cleanup procedure the GDU and the never became positive so we were boar stud um the spread throughout the barn and we actually able to limit were able to keep these animals on site without them ever becoming infected with African Swine Fever we did have to make a very difficult decision because uh on a sow farm if if an animal, if the sow shows clinical signs of African very likely that within 24 to 48 hours Swine Fever it’s later um she’s likely going to die from the the virus and with that we saw a very high increase in the number of off feeds in a 12 and a 24 to 48 hour period resulting in us saying that we knew the outcome was going to be poor and we needed to we needed to depopulate the farm before it was going to become worse But with that that farm unfortunately we ended up having to uh ended up having to depopulate in what would have been early 2019. Secondarily we had a another case that would have been in a nearby farm given the spread of the virus throughout the winter of 2018 to 2019 there’s various estimates out there but more than 50 percent of Chinese sow farms would have encountered the virus and reduced the sow population quite drastically We unfortunately had a very similar experience to that so given the impact we had another event in a gestation barn but we were a little bit more optimistic given the slow movement and progression of the virus throughout the barn that we might been able to control it and uh but with with the processes we had in place uh we were effective for about a 30 day period but then after that it did spread drastically throughout the barn. This would be a picture of a gestation barn where each row would be a row of gestation crates and the yellow lines would indicate the walking hallways that the staff can move through and then the white um white lines in between the blue lines would indicate what would be either a manure alley or a feed alley and the red locations would indicate where we were able to find positive sows that that tested and mortality from the virus and you can see it was it was located to some specific areas within the barn. But then after 30 days that changed. And the interesting thing was that after we experienced that episode of the virus not traveling throughout the entire barn at a rapid rate like influenza and PRRS we uh we wanted to understand if there was the ability to potentially do something that would now be called in China tooth extraction And this would be the idea that once again because the virus moves so slowly

you can actually test sows that would be off feed or experience any sort of eight abnormal clinical signs you can test them with an oral fluid swab and if you get a positive result make a decision to euthanize those individuals Minimize contamination with uh with with the neighboring sows that would be in that same row and after disinfecting the area where that sow may have been uh actually have the ability to limit the spread of the virus throughout the farm And with that we then had some successful experiences. This would have been another gestation barn You can see that the red squares would once again indicate animals that tested positive and this was right on the the end of one gestation barn where the clinical signs were first observed Animals were deemed to be positive based on testing and the white squares would indicate sows that were euthanized to prevent spread of the virus after finding what would have been the positives, and luckily we were able to prevent the movement of the virus throughout the farm. And that farm today has not had a positive test in over six months This would be another example of a gestation barn or two gestation barns that experienced clinical signs of ASF and unfortunately need to make the decision to depopulate one of those barns but the other one we executed the tooth extraction protocol and were once again able to save more than 50 percent of the herd So it’s a very different virus in terms of its spread and progression compared to what we experience here in the United States with influenza or PRRS If we were to then look at what some grow finish cases would be. The first case we we uh or this first case would have been 2500 pigs total in what would be a traditional barn style in China where there’d be a number of smaller barns with fewer numbers of pigs in them and these pigs were around 130 pounds when they first experienced the issues. We saw clinical signs in one pen in one barn where pigs were off feed and piling and had a temperatures of 103.5 degrees and then after adding what would be some antimicrobials and aspirin to the water to treat the problem we did not see improvement after 48 hours and with that we made the decision to test, had a positive result and then unfortunately needed to take action And to give everyone understanding of the true outcomes that can happen in regards to African Swine Fever moving through a grow finish barn this would have been the timeline from which we first had a positive and once again given that it’s three to fifteen days from when in when the pathogen enters the herd to when you may see clinical signs, it’s fair to extrapolate and say that you could add 10 days to the total timeline of this, of this overall timeline but day one and this would be when we first had our positive case. With that you can see over the course of 30 days we were able to depopulate the barn And there was the ability to make some sale decisions in barns that did not have any clinical signs of the virus and if you were to add up what would have been the total number of pigs that were sold and the total mortality that we had you would have ended up right in the neighborhood around 100 percent mortality and and truly after the first 10 days when it, when a case is observed the mortality increases drastically but after 10 days it tends to spread out of control as the R 0 number although low when you have enough animals infected can spread quite drastically and with this you can see from week two to week three to week four we almost had a doubling of mortality consistently. Moving on, the next case we had would have been in a nursery this would have been a 20,000 head nursery so 2500 pigs per room and with that we had clinical signs observed in one of the rooms and all the other rooms just like what we saw in the GDU and the boar stud and the sow farm stayed negative. Did not see any clinical signs there. But we did see issues in this one room and through our uh process of removing the non-infected animals from the barn we did experience a pretty drastic mortality rate within that nursery room. And over the course of 19 days because we were not able to dispose of

these carcasses due to the movement of the healthy pigs out of the site we ended up having 96 percent mortality in 19 days So without a doubt the virus has the capability of of uh being the most deadly pathogen that’s present uh today known to pigs And this is a great example of how bad it can be. Clinical signs that you would observe would be uh pigs pilings as you can see on the right, potentially some very loose stools with blood present on the right and then the biggest clinical sign would just be a substantial increase in mortality, especially as I noted after 10 days when the first case is observed And then if pigs were posted you would without a doubt tend to see very much enlarged spleens, they would be two to three times what would be the normal size and a very consistent finding across the board So if we were to summarize cases that you would tend to see in the United States tend to see in a sow farm and in the nursery finisher the biggest difference is that in a sow farm you may have the ability if it was a gestation created barn, to prevent, slow and stop the movement of virus if protocols were followed 100 percent correctly. And uh contrast that to a nursery finisher where the size of the pens and the layout of the barn makes it much more difficult to prevent movement of virus from one pen to another and especially pigs within the same pen. The mortality in a nursery or a finisher may start low but will increase rapidly after seven to ten days So the next step I believe would be to look at what would be some protocols we can put in place to decrease the spread of the virus and or prevent it from coming in entirely And truly when it comes to that biosecurity just like here in the United States pays dividends if invested in into correctly and in China people are without a doubt experiencing this given the elevated pig prices and the opportunity to make substantial profits in the industry today For example the the profitability not just the sale but the profitability of a weaned pig today is over 180 dollars U.S. so there there’s a substantial substantial profitability opportunity if uh barns are to stay negative for ASF And with that i’ll go through each one of these uh recommended updates to keep ASF out of your sites starting out with what would be trucking. And important to note first off what would be the standard expectations uh of a farm that would be built in China. First off, this would be a sow farm where there would be the uh dorms and whatnot attached and there would be an eight foot wall around the entire thing Then there would be a guard where there would be a shower you’d have to go through and change your clothes the first time in order to make it into just inside the walls of the farm Then there’d be the dorms where today staff would stay for two to three months and not be able to go home So it’s without a doubt had a massive impact on people’s lives and our workers lives for sure Then in order to actually get into the barn you would have to enter and change your clothes and take another shower. Once again the boar stud’s on site so there’d be no outside semen coming into the farm there’d be an isolation and compost on site and then every single uh today every single sow farm and grow finish site would have its own truck wash and uh and truck to move pigs back and forth And the trucks that you can have in China would be a very similar quality to the United States similar size, similar similar I would say overall quality there would definitely be some lower quality trucks out there that many people in the industry would be using but in order to disinfect effectively and keep ASF out of your barn, having trucks that can be fully disinfected and get every nook and cranny clean of any organic material is without a doubt one of the most utmost most important concepts Having good truck washes is also a key component of keeping ASF out of your barns So people actually install a lot of railings on truck washes to be able to wash the tops much more easily than they could normally. And then although I do not have a picture of it people would also be installing a lot more thermal assisted drying bays so after washing heavily

people will then drive the trucks at a very high temperature to prevent any sort of movement of virus from one location to the next. Then looking at people not necessarily going the route of this individual would be taking a bath in Virkon but but being being aggressive with the protocols that would be in place for people moving into sites making sure that they have an appropriate downtime period prior to going into a farm and not bringing in equipment that wouldn’t, wouldn’t be necessary and couldn’t be disinfected And generally many farms will not allow anyone to bring in anything other than what would be their phone and a computer as those are items that can be disinfected and everything else will be provided for you directly on on the farm In terms of equipment want to make sure any sort of items that would enter the farm would be disinfected and pass through uh one if not two different d and d rooms and this would be I would say without a doubt implemented on on almost all farms throughout China. Then looking at feed this would be I would say one of the most critical concerns as it’s, it’s very important to know how exactly feed and or corn is produced in China And we know that uh based on the research that Scott Dee and Megan Niederwerder and many others have done regarding feed and its potential vector for viruses it’s without a doubt a risk and with that throughout China almost all the feed in China ends up being pelleted and over the course of the past 12 months it’s become a standard to heat almost all the feed to a minimum of 85 degrees Celsius and keep it at that temperature for three minutes minimum And like I said looking at why specifically feed is a risk factor is because the way that corn is generally dried in China, unlike utilizing dryers that we would have here in the United States, they would dry a vast majority of it on the ground. And if you’re going to be drying your corn on the ground you’re not preventing anyone from driving over it so there there might be civilian vehicles there, might be feed trucks there, might be trucks directly carrying pigs driving right over this corn contaminating what would be, what would be that corn that’s then going to get put into a bin somewhere at some point and allowing whatever might be present in that corn to then end up inside that barn. And then not only looking at the food for pigs but looking at the food for people as well is a primary issue. And as I as I noted because this farm staff stay on the site for a minimum of two months today, all of the food that enters the farm to feed these individuals may also run the risk of being contaminated. And because a lot of food and a lot of vegetables that are purchased at in China come from what is termed a wet market, there would be both vegetables and meat sitting almost side by side And if someone is handling the meat and is then going to be handling vegetables and putting them in maybe even the same bag you without a doubt run the risk that meat was contaminated with ASF And now those vegetables are going to be contaminated with ASF as well So even if on the farm you’re not going to be consuming any pork from any outside locations because maybe the vegetables that you are consuming may have been spiked or contaminated with African Swine Fever you run the risk then bringing them into your herd As you may expect as well on almost all herds no pork outside of that individual farm will generally end up being consumed and on top of that people have largely moved away from eating pork altogether in the farms as making the substitute for what would be safer venues of animal proteins would be a safer route And with that there’s been in my experience more fish being consumed on farms and more seafood in general as you can see in in this picture in a wet market there might be a chicken directly next to pork directly next to beef directly next to next to lamb or other types of meat and a fish might be sold in a different market so fish might have a little bit less risk just because it would be away from where a lot of pork would be

So then looking at at the next item on the list here diagnostics Similar to the United States, any time you’re going to especially move a group of gilts and it’s now come down to in China of any time you move pigs at all testing them for ASF prior to movement is is key. You would not want to run the risk of bringing the virus from one farm to another simply because you did not test prior to movement. And with that people utilize the oral oral saliva or oral fluid testing I would say at a very large scale both looking at antigen and and Elisa testing as a whole And one of the most important parts of doing diagnostics is we take for granted here in the United States that if you receive diagnostic results back that almost 100 percent of the time the results are going to be accurate and it’s unlikely that you have to run a retest. But in China ensuring that the lab is following the correct procedures and has the best testing kits is of utmost importance because you can end up without a doubt running risk of having a number of false negatives and then contaminating your your herd without knowing. So this would be an example of some testing material that we would have in a lab so we can do our own PCR and or Elisa testing on a daily basis giving us results on the same day Because if you are going to take the precautions of doing what would be the tooth extraction protocol you want to make sure you can get results the same day because if you wait 24 or 48 hours, that virus might have already moved to another animal and passed the virus to a point which you can no longer successfully do the protocol. So you need to have the ability to do same-day testing and do it effectively And then if there was to be a barn that was infected and had to be depopulated you would then want to make sure that you’re also following the correct steps so that the site doesn’t become infected again So with that after following the depopulation procedure you would then want to discard all items from the farm that can’t be disinfected all surfaces that would be wood would either be thrown away replaced or or covered with something that couldn’t that can be disinfected and pigs can’t make contact with the wood surface again There’s an understanding based on some research that’s been completed that ASF can’t survive a manure slurry for longer than two weeks so with that, scrape the manure into the pit and then drain that to the lagoon You would then want to wash the entire barn as you would normally here in the United States along with all services of equipment and actually people will take all the equipment apart, gatings, feeders, you name it, to make sure they’re getting every single nook and cranny that could potentially have the virus house housing on it. Then disinfect after the washing process, and then people actually do that three times total. And when it comes to the disinfectant process people will use a mixture of different disinfectants after each time being Virkon, Synergize, bleach, things that have been found to be effective at eliminating the virus. Then people will actually use fire to walk to disinfect what would be the manure in between the slats as the pigs could still reach between the slats if they tried to and that could house some virus so you want to prevent that And to remove that as a risk then people whitewash the entire barn After whitewashing and in between some of these steps people will do a visual audit to make sure there’s no organic material present anywhere, and after uh the visual audit proves to be proven positive then there would be some environmental sampling that would be done using swabs to see if you can find any ASF ASF contaminants in and nucleic acid. Then after consistently having all of the environmental sampling swabs come back negative, you’d want to put in uh sentinels into the farm at five to ten percent normal stocking density and watch them for a minimum of 14 days usually 21 As we understand the virus has a three to four, three to 15 day delay from when you initially potentially have it enter the farm want to wait a minimum of 14 days most likely 21 before you made the decision that the site was clean and able to bring in what would be the full population This would be pictures of barns having all of the gating being

taken out and removed and on the bottom that would be a you could almost call it a flamethrower that has been designed to uh disinfect what would be in between the slats to remove that that manure as a risk But with that, the next step would be to look at what would be the future expectations for China and essentially a path of recovery So as Christine noted there is a substantial amount of new construction happening throughout China and much larger farms than what have been uh constructed traditionally. In 2016 I remember a statistic that 97 percent of farms in China were 50 sows or less and as of today I think that number has decreased and the number of larger farms continues to increase by the day. I have heard reports of some companies building sow farms in three months to stock them with thousands of market ready or market females as what would be the the main gilts So with that there’s a substantial increase in overall pig population in larger farms. And due to what is the the overall cost of implementing good biosecurity, I think it may be more difficult for smaller farms and smaller operations to stay in in production until a fully 100 percent effective ASF vaccine was to come on to the market And given that there is a drastic increase in the overall number of market females being used as gilts, there’s I would estimate that the overall number of sows will result and recover to a similar level as what it was prior to ASF within the next I want to say 24 months but very important to note that because the the performance of a market female is without a doubt not as good as a F1 cross, the overall production is still going to be below what it was prior to ASF until those market females are I would say replaced with a higher higher quality genetics over the course of the next several years And with that people who are producing GGPs and having high quality gilts are without a doubt getting a very high value for those gilts So some people say well when is China going to get rid of ASF when is it going to be, when is it going to be eradicated from the country? I would speculate that it may never be eradicated from China. And with that the individuals and production companies that spend the capital on good biosecurity will be the ones that will be able to be successful and continue to take what would be the pieces of profit that are available today in the market and especially over the course of the next several years as they recover back to a 100 percent if not above 100 percent production level prior to ASF entering entering the country. But with that, I would estimate that’s going to be a minimum of 12 months until the sow population recovers and likely longer, longer than that by the time there’ll actually be the same number of pigs as they were prior to ASF Important to note that on this slide here this was by a different different survey company in China and they estimate as you can see here by the end of this year, there’s going to be somewhere in the neighborhood around 37 million sows. And if you uh remember Christine’s presentation she had a slide that indicated that as of today there’s somewhere in the neighborhood around 22 to 23 million sows So this this group would be highly respected in China and without a doubt we all know Rabobank is is highly respected as well and we have one group indicating that there’s 23 million sows another indicating that there’s 37 So with in a sense there’s a almost a 15 million uh sow, disparity depending on who exactly is uh whose numbers are are being reported. But and with that it’s difficult to say what the true number of sows are that are present in China, but one thing I can guarantee is that the number is increasing drastically every month as people are building new sow farms Building them larger similar to what would be here in the United States much larger than they have been historically With that I’d be happy to take any questions at this time