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Post-symposium, SHIC Continues Work on JEV Preparedness and Next Steps

In October 2022, SHIC sponsored a Japanese encephalitis virus symposium attended by pork producers, veterinarians, animal and public health officials and pork allied industries. The symposium was conducted at the Center for the Ecology of Infectious Diseases (CEID), University of Georgia, with both in-person and virtual participation. JEV preparedness activities in the US - entry and establishment risk assessment; research priorities supporting identification, surveillance, and response; and facilitating further information sharing through an ongoing CEID project - are underway after review of the Australian experience that informs the work and process.

Australian retrospective testing shows that JEV was circulating in the country's swine herds for up to a year before the clinical outbreak. In addition to the symposium, SHIC has already funded an updated, comprehensive entry and establishment risk assessment and a complete literature review to ensure the latest information on JEV genotype IV, the genotype causing the Australian outbreak, is available to help develop surveillance, identification, and research.

A JEV research priority list based on the gaps in knowledge identified, including discussions during the symposium, has been drafted. The wide range of impact on the farms - mild to severe clinical outcomes and short to prolonged clinical disease - means that work needs to be done to understand JEV's epidemiology and how on-farm and/or regional factors influence the disease transmission and progression.

Additional areas identified for investigation include oral fluids and barn effluent surveillance, and confirming PCR testing would detect all JEV genotypes, including the genotype responsible for the recent Australian outbreak. Further understanding of the economic and trade impacts of a US JEV incursion to pork producers, as well as identifying competent avian and vector hosts for JEV, will be important. Since JEV is a mosquito disease, investigating effective mosquito control measures on swine farms is also included. As part of this process, SHIC is in communication with Australian veterinarians, producers, and researchers to discuss opportunities for JEV collaboration.

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