Can Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea virus (PEDv) become airborne and remain infectious while in the air? That’s what researchers from the University of Minnesota sought to discover. They collected air samples from both a room containing experimentally-infected pigs and at varying distances from farms experiencing acute PEDv outbreaks.

The results confirmed what researchers initially expected – PEDV can be carried on airborne dust particles as far as 10 miles downwind from infected farms and remain infectious. The study suggests contaminated feces may play a role in spreading the disease.

“Drying of swine feces due to increase in temperature and resuspension of feed deposited on the floor of pig buildings can result in the generation of dust, which can adsorb and carry microorganisms and odorous compounds,” the researchers wrote. “We speculate that this is one likely mechanism by which PEDV became aerosolized and remained suspended in the air, and may contribute to both within farm transmission and area spread in high density pig regions.”

They continued, “Furthermore, PEDV has a low infectivity dose and is able to survive in the environment for extended periods, facilitating the risk of disease transmission.”

The study was published in a recent issue of the journal, Veterinary Research. Click here to read the full report.