Despite close contact between humans and animals on large scale farms, little to no infectious disease research is conducted at this interface. Our goal in this preliminary study was to explore if we could detect swine pathogens using a non-invasive, indirect approach through the study of swine slurry. From April to November 2018, 105 swine slurry samples were collected by farm personnel from waste pits at two sites on a swine farm in North Carolina. These samples were tested for DNA and RNA viruses using a real-time PCR and RT-PCR. Statistical analyses were performed to measure association between virus positive outcomes and potential predictors such as date of sample collection, weight of pigs, number of pigs in barn, temperature, and weather conditions. Overall, 86% of the samples had evidence of at least one of the targeted viruses. Ultimately, this study demonstrated the utility of conducting noninvasive surveillance for swine pathogens through the study of swine slurry. Such swine slurry surveillance may supplant the need to handle, restrain, and collect specimens directly from pigs thus providing an approach to emerging pathogen detection that appeals to the swine industry.
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