There’s no time to waste when it comes to Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea virus (PEDv) outbreaks. Dr. Lisa Becton, the Pork Checkoff swine health and information director, named it as one of her top six steps for pork producers to keep the disease from infecting their herds.

“After what we’ve experienced in terms of PEDv’s ability to spread and survive, it’s critical to maintain heightened vigilance and implement strict biosecurity as we enter the fall,” she said.

South Dakota State University recently examined the role diagnostic tests have had in not only confirming PEDv in U.S. hog herds, but also differentiating PEDv-genetic material from other viruses.

How the test works
Eric Nelson, a veterinary and biomedical sciences professor and researcher with the Animal Disease Research and Diagnostic Lab (ADRDL) explains once an animal is exposed to PEDv, it develops antibodies. Several tests produced by ADRDL detect an animal’s immune response to PEDv, identifying not only the animal’s previously exposure to the virus but also its antibody response to vaccines.

Research associate Travis Clement states that neutralizing antibodies are particularly important indicators of protective immunity to the virus.  If pigs with these antibodies have negative polymerase chain reaction (PCR) results, the animals have stopped shedding the virus and may be safely integrated into a pork operation.

A win-win situation
Jane Christopher-Hennings, ADRDL director and South Dakota State University Veterinary and Biomedical Sciences Department Head, adds that both researchers and producers benefit from these tests.

“With an emerging disease, research, diagnostics and control measures are critical in limiting the damage and extent of the disease,” she says.

Networking among diagnostic labs has helped researchers quickly identify new diseases and develop diagnostic tools. Read, “ADRDL Responds Quickly to PEDv”