Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea (PED) virus continues to be a very critical health issue for the US swine industry, and some estimates are as high as 3 million pigs lost to this disease this year. The first cases were reported this May, and as of December 1, 2013, there are 1,512 cases in 20 states in the US. The disconcerting news is that this is an increase of 140 new locations from the week before, which is the largest 1-week jump in cases. While SD has only 2 reported cases, there are multiple cases in IA and MN, and NE just reported their first cases in the last 2 weeks.
Outbreaks of PED can be devastating. There is 100% mortality in newborn pigs, and this typically creates a 5-week hole in pigflow because there are no pigs to wean. Pigs in the early nursery phase don’t experience the high deathloss, but it does cause severe diarrhea so many pigs are stunted and nursery performance suffers. As pigs get older and their own immune system becomes functional, there is little to no deathloss, and most pigs experience just a 1 week lag in growth performance.
One of the good things about PED is it appears that the virus itself is not an airborne threat. However, it is very easily transmitted by manure, and if a virus-contaminated piece of manure were to be small enough to get aerosolized, then PED could travel in the air. The main way to prevent PED from getting on your farm, though, is to prevent any manure particles from shoes, trucks, trailers, semis, cars, etc from tracking onto your place. Unfortunately, PED is an extremely infective virus and it only takes a minute amount to cause an outbreak. PED can live in manure slurry up to 14 days at room temperature, but > 28 days in cold slurry so it is not affected by the cold. It can also live in feed up to 1 week.
The biggest threat to pork producers is when they take their pigs to market. Packing plants and buying stations are great commingling places for disease. Before getting out of the cab, producers need to put on a pair of disposal boots and then get the pigs unloaded. Before getting back into the cab when done, they need to take off and discard the boots immediately before entering the cab. Even a small chunk of manure on the floor mat means disaster. Many producers routinely go to truck washes after unloading hogs to clean out their trailer. While this is a good idea, truck washes are also another commingling place where PED is prevalent. Any manure that splashes up on the truck, tires, or boots during the cleaning process probably has the PED virus in it. After cleaning the trailer at a truck wash, it needs to be sprayed with a disinfectant and allowed to dry. Drying and disinfecting will take care of both PRRS and PED when done properly. Producers are encouraged to visit with the veterinarians on which are the most effective disinfectants. If a clean and disinfected truck and trailer can be dried at 160F for 10 minutes, the virus should be gone. If they are dried at room temperature, it’ll take one week to kill the virus.