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1.  Describing antimicrobial use and reported treatment efficacy in Ontario swine using the Ontario swine veterinary-based Surveillance program 
The objective of this work was to retrospectively assess records received through the Ontario Swine Veterinary-based Surveillance program July 2007 – July 2009 to describe and assess relationships between reported treatment failure, antimicrobial use, diagnosis and body system affected.
Antimicrobial use occurred in 676 records, 80.4% of all records recording treatment (840). The most commonly used antimicrobials were penicillin (34.9%), tetracyclines (10.7%) and ceftiofur (7.8%), and the use of multiple antimicrobials occurred in 141/676 records (20.9%). A multi-level logistic regression model was built to describe the probability of reported treatment failure. The odds of reported treatment failure were significantly reduced if the record indicated that the gastro-intestinal (GI) system was affected, as compared to all other body systems (p < 0.05). In contrast, the odds of reported treatment failure increased by 1.98 times if two antimicrobials were used as compared to one antimicrobial (p = 0.009) and by 6.52 times if three or more antimicrobials were used as compared to one antimicrobial (p = 0.005). No significant increase in reported treatment failure was seen between the use of two antimicrobials and three or more antimicrobials. No other antimicrobials were significantly associated with reported treatment failure after controlling for body system and the number of antimicrobials used.
Failure of antimicrobial treatment is more likely to occur in non-GI conditions, as compared to GI conditions and the use of multiple antimicrobial products is also associated with an increased probability of antimicrobial treatment failure. The authors suggest that a more preventative approach to herd health should be taken in order to reduce antimicrobial inputs on-farm, including improved immunity via vaccination, management and biosecurity strategies. Furthermore, improved immunity may be viewed as a form of antimicrobial stewardship to the industry by reducing required antimicrobial inputs and consequently, reduced selection pressure for AMR.
PMCID: PMC4220827  PMID: 24289212
Treatment failure; Treatment efficacy; Antimicrobial use; Swine
2.  An investigation of resistance to β-lactam antimicrobials among staphylococci isolated from pigs with exudative epidermitis 
A high proportion of staphylococci isolated from pigs affected with exudative epidermitis were found to be resistant to β-lactam antimicrobials. The primary objective of this research was to investigate and characterize β-lactam resistance in Staphylococcus hyicus, Staphylococcus aureus and other staphylococci isolated from these pigs.
The antimicrobial resistance patterns of 240 staphylococci isolates were determined by disk diffusion, of which 176 (73.3%) of the isolates were resistant to 3 β-lactams (penicillin G, ampicillin, and ceftiofur). The presence of mecA gene was identified in 63 staphylococci isolates from skin samples by PCR. The mecA gene was identified in 19 S. aureus, 31 S. hyicus, 9 Staphylococcus chromogenes, 2 Staphylococcus pseudintermedius isolates, and in 1 isolate each of Staphylococcus arlettae, and Staphylococcus cohnii subspecies urealyticus. From SCCmec typing results, the majority (45/63, 71.4%) were shown to be SCCmec type V. One isolate was SCCmec III. Fourteen isolates were detected as mec class A, mec class C or ccr type 5. The ccr complex and mec complex was not detected in 3 isolates of methicillin resistant S. hyicus (MRSH) based on multiplex PCR. Of the 30 isolates of MRSA identified from nasal samples of the pigs, 29 isolates were SCCmec type V and 1 isolate was SCCmec type II. Staphyloccoci isolates that were mecA negative but resistant to β-lactam antimicrobials were further examined by screening for mecC, however all were negative. Furthermore, the majority of mecA negative β-lactam resistant staphylococci isolates were susceptible to oxacillin and amoxicillin-clavulanic acid in a double disk diffusion test.
Methicillin resistance can be identified in a variety of staphylococcal species isolated from pigs. In this study there was a great deal of similarity in the SCCmec types between staphylococcal species, suggesting that resistance may be passed from one species of staphylococci to another species of staphylococci. While this has been reported for acquisition of methicillin-resistance from coagulase negative staphylococci to S. aureus, these data suggest that transmission to or from the porcine pathogen S. hyicus may also occur. The identification of methicillin resistance in a variety of staphylococcal species in pigs does raise concerns about the spread of serious multi-drug resistance in food producing animals and warrants further study.
PMCID: PMC4015292  PMID: 24131819
β-lactam resistance; Methicillin resistant Staphylococcus aureus; Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus hyicus; Exudative epidermitis; Pigs; mecA gene; mecC (novel mecALGA251); SCCmec type V
3.  Identifying an outbreak of a novel swine disease using test requests for porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome as a syndromic surveillance tool 
Animal disease monitoring and surveillance are crucial for ensuring the health of animals, humans and the environment. Many studies have investigated the utility of monitoring syndromes associated with data from veterinary laboratory submissions, but no research has focused on how negative test results from a veterinary diagnostic laboratory data can be used to improve our knowledge of disease outbreaks. For example, if a diagnostic laboratory was seeing a disproportionate number of negative test results for a known disease could this information be an indication of a novel disease outbreak? The objective of this study was to determine the association between the porcine circovirus associated disease (PCVAD) outbreak in Ontario 2004–2006 and the results of porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome virus (PPRSV) enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) and the results of PRRSV polymerase chain reaction (PCR) diagnostic tests requested by veterinarians.
Retrospective data were collected from the Animal Health Laboratory (AHL) at the University of Guelph, Guelph, Ontario Canada and were comprised of weekly counts of PRRSV ELISA and PRRSV PCR diagnostic tests requested by swine practitioners from 2000–2007. The results of the PRRSV ELISA and PRRSV PCRs were analysed separately in two models using logistic regression with the dependent variables being: the weekly probability of PRRSV ELISA positivity, and the weekly probability of PRRSV PCR positivity, respectively. The weekly probability of PRRSV PCR positivity decreased during the PVCAD outbreak (OR=0.66, P=0.01). The weekly probability of PRRSV ELISA positivity was not associated with the PCVAD outbreak.
The results of this study showed that during the PCVAD outbreak in Ontario from December 2004-May 2006, the probability of a positive PRRSV PCR at the AHL decreased. We conclude that when a decrease in test positivity occurs for a known disease, it may suggest that a new disease agent is emerging in the population. Hence, monitoring the test results of commonly used first-order tests for a known disease (e.g. PRRSV) has the potential to be a unique form of syndromic data for the timely identification of novel disease outbreaks in swine populations.
PMCID: PMC3514316  PMID: 23072647
Swine; Disease surveillance; Laboratory data; Syndromic surveillance; Diagnostic test requests; Test results
4.  Suitability and limitations of portion-specific abattoir data as part of an early warning system for emerging diseases of swine in Ontario 
Abattoir data have the potential to provide information for geospatial disease surveillance applications, but the quality of the data and utility for detecting disease outbreaks is not well understood. The objectives of this study were to 1) identify non-disease factors that may bias these data for disease surveillance and 2) determine if major disease events that took place during the study period would be captured using multi-level modelling and scan statistics. We analyzed data collected at all provincially-inspected abattoirs in Ontario, Canada during 2001-2007. During these years there were outbreaks of porcine circovirus-associated disease (PCVAD), porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome (PRRS) and swine influenza that produced widespread disease within the province. Negative binomial models with random intercepts for abattoir, to account for repeated measurements within abattoirs, were created. The relationships between partial carcass condemnation rates for pneumonia and nephritis with year, season, agricultural region, stock price, and abattoir processing capacity were explored. The utility of the spatial scan statistic for detecting clusters of high partial carcass condemnation rates in space, time, and space-time was investigated.
Non-disease factors that were found to be associated with lung and kidney condemnation rates included abattoir processing capacity, agricultural region and season. Yearly trends in predicted condemnation rates varied by agricultural region, and temporal patterns were different for both types of condemnations. Some clusters of high condemnation rates of kidneys with nephritis in time and space-time preceded the timeframe during which case clusters were detected using traditional laboratory data. Yearly kidney condemnation rates related to nephritis lesions in eastern Ontario were most consistent with the trends that were expected in relation to the documented disease outbreaks. Yearly lung condemnation rates did not correspond with the timeframes during which major respiratory disease outbreaks took place.
This study demonstrated that a number of abattoir-related factors require consideration when using abattoir data for quantitative disease surveillance. Data pertaining to lungs condemned for pneumonia did not provide useful information for predicting disease events, while partial carcass condemnations of nephritis were most consistent with expected trends. Techniques that adjust for non-disease factors should be considered when applying cluster detection methods to abattoir data.
PMCID: PMC3286412  PMID: 22225910
5.  Spread of porcine circovirus associated disease (PCVAD) in Ontario (Canada) swine herds: Part I. Exploratory spatial analysis 
The systemic form of porcine circovirus associated disease (PCVAD), also known as postweaning multisystemic wasting syndrome (PMWS) was initially detected in the early 1990s. Starting in 2004, the Canadian swine industry experienced considerable losses due to PCVAD, concurrent with a shift in genotype of porcine circovirus type 2 (PCV2). Objectives of the current study were to explore spatial characteristics of self-reported PCVAD distribution in Ontario between 2004 and 2008, and to investigate the existence and nature of local spread.
The study included 278 swine herds from a large disease-monitoring project that included porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome (PRRS) virus-positive herds identified by the diagnostic laboratory, and PRRS virus-negative herds directly from the target population. Herds were included if they had growing pigs present on-site and available geographical coordinates for the sampling site. Furthermore, herds were defined as PCVAD-positive if a producer reported an outbreak of circovirus associated disease, or as PCVAD-negative if no outbreak was noted. Spatial trend was investigated using generalized additive models and time to PCVAD outbreak in a herd using Cox's proportional hazard model; spatial and spatio-temporal clustering was explored using K-functions; and location of most likely spatial and spatio-temporal clusters was investigated using scan statistics. Over the study period, the risk of reporting a PCVAD-positive herd tended to be higher in the eastern part of the province after adjustment for herd PRRS status (P = 0.05). This was partly confirmed for spread (Partial P < 0.01). Local spread also appeared to exist, as suggested by the tentative (P = 0.06) existence of spatio-temporal clustering of PCVAD and detection of a spatio-temporal cluster (P = 0.04).
In Ontario, PCVAD has shown a general trend, spreading from east-to-west. We interpret the existence of spatio-temporal clustering as evidence of spatio-temporal aggregation of PCVAD-positive cases above expectations and, together with the existence of spatio-temporal and spatial clusters, as suggestive of apparent local spread of PCVAD. Clustering was detected at small spatial and temporal scales. Other patterns of spread could not be detected; however, survival rates in discrete Ontario zones, as well as a lack of a clear spatial pattern in the most likely spatio-temporal clusters, suggest other between-herd transmission mechanisms.
PMCID: PMC3024231  PMID: 21190587
6.  Spread of porcine circovirus associated disease (PCVAD) in Ontario (Canada) swine herds: Part II. Matched case-control study 
The emergence of porcine circovirus associated disease (PCVAD) was associated with high mortality in swine populations worldwide. Studies performed in different regions identified spatial, temporal, and spatio-temporal trends as factors contributing to patterns of the disease spread. Patterns consistent with spatial trend and spatio-temporal clustering were already identified in this dataset. On the basis of these results, we have further investigated the nature of local spread in this report. The primary objective of this study was to evaluate risk factors for incidence cases of reported PCVAD.
A time-matched case-control study was used as a study design approach, and conditional logistic regression as the analytical method. The main exposure of interest was local spread, which was defined as an unidentified mechanism of PCVAD spread between premises located within 3 kilometers of the Euclidean distance. Various modifications of variables indicative of local spread were also evaluated. The dataset contained 278 swine herds from Ontario originally sampled either from diagnostic laboratory submissions or directly from the target population. A PCVAD case was defined on the basis of the producer's recall. Existence of apparent local spread over the entire study period was confirmed (OR = 2.26, 95% CI: 1.06, 4.83), and was further identified to be time-varying in nature - herds experiencing outbreaks in the later part of the epidemic were more likely than control herds to be exposed to neighboring herds experiencing recent PCVAD outbreaks. More importantly, the pattern of local spread was driven by concurrent occurrence of PCVAD on premises under the same ownership (OREXACTwithin ownership = 25.6, 95% CI: 3.4, +inf; OREXACToutside ownership = 1.3, 95% CI: 0.45, 3.3). Other significant factors included PRRSv status of a herd (OREXACT = 1.9, 95% CI: 1.0, 3.9), after adjusting for geographical location by including the binary effect of the easting coordinate (Easting > 600 km = 1; OREXACT = 1.8, 95% CI: 0.5, 5.6).
These results preclude any conclusion regarding the existence of a mechanism of local spread through airborne transmission or indirectly through contaminated fomites or vectors, as simultaneous emergence of PCVAD could also be a result of concurrent change in contributing factors due to other mechanisms within ownerships.
PMCID: PMC3023701  PMID: 21190586

Results 1-6 (6)