Use of the heat index to predict increases in swine condemnations in slaughter surveillance data

Use of the heat index to predict increases in swine condemnations in slaughter surveillance data
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Abstract

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) conducts weekly surveillance of slaughter condemnation rates for the purposes of early warning for emerging diseases and monitoring of health trends in swine. This retrospective observational study used the heat index (HI), which combines the effects of temperature and humidity, to predict the incidence and risk of death among swine in-transit and just prior to slaughter in the U.S. The risk of death for market swine at an HI between 93-106F was 1.17 times greater than at average temperatures between 54-79F. The risk of death for cull sows at an HI between 93-106F was 2.26 times greater than at an average temperatures between 54-79F. Roaster swine, however, were less likely to die when the HI was 93- 106F compared to average temperatures ranging from 54-79F (risk ratio = 0.12). As a result of this study, weekly estimated HI values for slaughter establishments will be incorporated into the USDA, APHIS swine condemnation surveillance so analysts can correlate signals (noteworthy increases above baseline) for 'dead' condemnations with high HI values.

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