Two pigs at the recent Georgia Junior National Livestock Show in Perry, Georgia, tested positive for Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea virus, making these the first cases of the virus in the state. Julie McPeake, Director of Communications for the Georgia Department of Agriculture told PorkNetwork today that approximately 1,300 pigs from numerous states were exhibited at the non-terminal show. Animals were brought to the show on February 18 and left the facility on Saturday, Feb. 21 and Sunday, Feb. 22.
McPeake said there were 500 exhibitors at the show from multiple states. The 4-H and FFA advisors from the clubs and chapters represented have been contacted in an effort to “continue to keep them informed.” She added, “Georgia is not a huge commercial [pork production] state – we’re more backyard pigs” but she said pork producers who may be affected by the potential spread of PEDv are in the process of being contacted as well.
Pigs were required to have health papers for admission onto the fairgrounds. They were entered by the respective agent or ag teacher into an online registration system, so those individuals have been contacted. McPeake said pigs from other states were likely exhibited at the show, but it is unknown at this time if the state agriculture departments or veterinarians in those states have been contacted.
The Georgia Department of Agriculture does have a fact sheet on PEDv, but contrary to the document, there are two vaccines that have conditional licenses for PEDv. In addition, the department’s website does not list PEDv as a reportable disease, though the USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service made PEDv and Swine Delta Coronavirus reportable diseases in May 2014, in order to slow the spread of the viruses across the United States.
Veterinarians are concerned that information won’t get to producers in time to slow the spread of the virus across the state. They say Georgia has the opportunity to serve as a stellar example of how a disease should be reported and controlled, to prevent further herds from becoming infected. In addition, it could illustrate how the animal industry would handle the introduction of foreign animal disease such as Foot and Mouth disease.
PorkNetwork is waiting to hear from Georgia State Veterinarian and Division Director Robert M. Cobb, Jr., DVM, and will provide updates as more information becomes available.