The hot topic at World Pork Expo this year is Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea Virus (PEDV), a virus that was first identified in a 2400-sow unit on May 29. So far, we haven’t heard any concrete numbers on death loss, but we do know 103 sites are confirmed to have the virus, as of today. The breakout by state is as follows: Colorado – 7; Illinois – 2; Michigan – 1; Missouri – 2; Iowa – 62; Indiana – 7; Minnesota – 15; Nebraska – 1; Ohio – 4; Oklahoma – 1; and South Dakota – 1.

According to Dr. Greg Stevenson, DVM, with the Iowa State Veterinary Diagnostic Lab in Ames, Iowa, the viral particles were consistent with a coronavirus. “Knowing that, we began to have a feeling what it was,” he says. At that point, technicians were able to get the virus sequenced. “The complete sequence was 99.6 homologous with the virus in China, so we know that’s where it originally came from.”

How it got here or how it spread remain a mystery, however. “We have a person who is collating data from numerous locations,” continues Stevenson. “We don’t know when any given farm broke – we only know when producers sent samples.”

After it was determined what kind of virus they were working with, Stevenson says they went back to samples sent in from producers earlier this year who thought they had TGE. The earliest they can find samples positive to this particular virus is April 29, so it is a fairly condensed timeframe. Stevenson says his lab has tested more than 800 samples.

Dr. Tom Burkgren, DVM, executive director of the American Association of Swine Veterinarians, has coordinated much of the effort related to PEDV. “We’re looking for information about the herds and are identifying the risk factors. We’re leaving no stone unturned,” he says. “We’re looking at how it got here, how to minimize the lateral spread and whether we can control and eradicate the virus.”

Dr. Lisa Ferguson, Deputy Director for Science and Technology for USDA APHIS Veterinary Services National Animal Health Policy and Programs says her department wants to “be collaborative and offer assistance.”

This is not a reportable foreign animal disease, and it shouldn’t affect trade, she adds. “We’re providing information to our trading partners, specifically the EU and Canada. Our interest is in determining how it hot here and how it is spreading.'

In visiting with Dr. Ferguson later, it is evident that her goal - and that of her department in APHIS - is to help the industry find answers. As in previous situations in which the industry has faced crises, diverse segments are coming together in a collaborative effort to find answers as quickly and efficiently as possible.

If you suspect your farm or one of your sites has PEDV, Dr. Stevenson suggests you immediately contact your veterinarian. Based on his/her recommendation, send samples to a diagnostic laboratory. Rather than send fecal samples only, he suggests producers euthanize a pig showing clinical signs and send the small intestines to the lab. “This helps us identify antibodies, the presence of lesions and viral antigens. This will confirm the diagnosis,” he states.

As reported previously on PorkNetwork, $527,000 has been earmarked for PEDV research: $450,000 in Checkoff funds and $77,000 from the Iowa Pork Producers Association.

We will have more news from World Pork Expo on Thursday.