Canada Place is an appropriate address for the next world congress of the International Pig Veterinary Society (IPVS), considering that the event will be taking place on Canadian soil for the first time in more than 40 years. It is the street address of the Vancouver Convention Centre --- which will be the location of the congress for four days from 18th July 2010.

Worldwide show  

Following its inaugural meeting in the UK in 1969, the IPVS congress was next staged in Germany in 1972 and since then has followed a two-year rotation of moving around the world. Canada’s bid to host the 2010 gathering was successful in a vote of delegates to IPVS 2006 in Denmark. During the intervening years the event moved to South Africa in 2008 and in 2012 it will be in Asia, with Korea as the hosting country.

In July this year it will be the 21st occasion that the International Pig Veterinary Society has met, notes IPVS 21010 President and organising committee chairman Dr Ernest Sanford. The theme already announced for it is “Sharing Ideas – Advancing Pig Health”, but the society’s past congresses have revealed that the topics under discussion can be as often about production management as about the directly veterinary issues of health and disease.

Advancing pig health  

The scientific programme this time includes presentations on breeding and genetics, nutrition and animal welfare. But it also aims to look at the increasingly topical consideration of emerging disease agents and their capacity for being zoonotic --- in other words, able to pass between pigs and people.

Dr Sanford reports that nearly 1200 abstracts were submitted for IPVS 2010 by the abstract submission deadline in February this year, easily exceeding the previous record of 934 abstracts submitted to the 19th IPVS in Copenhagen in 2006 and the just over 900 submitted in Durban, South Africa, in 2008. 

In July 2010 there is likely to be a high number of participants, too. “We expect to host well over 2000 delegates in Vancouver,” Dr Sanford told Pig International. 

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The programme for July includes several new items, not least a memorial lecture that has been established to honour Dr Tom Alexander, a prominent figure of modern pig medicine and a founder and a past-president of IPVS. Dr Alexander, a professor at the University of Cambridge in the UK, died in November 2008. The inaugural Tom Alexander Memorial Lecture will be given by Dr Hank Harris of Iowa State University, USA, who himself held the IPVS presidency in 2004.

Paperless proceedings  

Another introduction will signify that the congress is firmly in the electronic age. Not only will it provide its delegates with the proceedings papers on a digital memory stick rather than in paper form. It has also decided to replace the poster boards that have been part of scientific congresses for many years, offering short summaries of research that could not be reported verbally to the meeting.

In their place will be electronic posters (e-posters). Computer-controlled, the e-posters can be programmed to deliver the posters in a wide variety of ways.  Says Dr Sanford: “They will have the option of including interactive-type media such as videos, along with digital images.

“Using e-posters has further allowed us to establish actual poster sessions at designated time-slots over the three days of the IPVS.  Each session will have a moderator and four or five selected presenters, who will be given a few minutes to describe the key features of their poster followed by a short discussion.” 

Emerging diseases  

In swine medicine terms, IPVS Vancouver is likely to be remembered for highlighting the whole area of emerging diseases as it affects pork production around the world. Several instances of ‘new’ conditions have emerged since the last congress, not least the novel influenza virus H1N1. Another scheduled to receive close attention is MRSA (methicillin resistant Staphylococcus aureus) amid the flurry of debates over antibiotics in livestock production and risks of producing resistant bacteria.

Perhaps the hottest topic of all, however, is the battle between viruses PCV2 and PRRS to be No. 1. Dr Sanford indicates that the PCV2 circovirus will probably claim top spot as the disease entity most discussed again at this IPVS. Even so, he continues, it is sure that the PRRS virus will be challenging to re-take the Number One position it relinquished to PCV2, two congresses ago.