Hog producers should use good biosecurity practices to reduce the risk of animals becoming infected with porcine epidemic diarrhea virus (PEDV), says a University of Missouri veterinary resident.
PEDV is similar to transmissible gastroenteritis virus and causes diarrhea and vomiting in pigs, says Josh Schaeffer, production veterinary resident at the MU College of Veterinary Medicine.
PEDV is a swine-only disease and poses no threat to public health or food safety, but it could be a big problem for Missouri hog producers, Schaeffer said. “Missouri’s main hog market is selling nursery pigs to other states for finishing. Of hogs that contract PEDV, we expect a mortality rate of anywhere from 50 to 100 percent, so it can have a pretty significant impact economically on the hog industry in Missouri.”
PEDV is not a new virus; it was first found in Great Britain in 1971 and has been endemic in Asia for more than 30 years. The first U.S. case was diagnosed in May, and so far PEDV has been confirmed in a handful of states, including Missouri, Iowa, Indiana, Illinois and Minnesota.
“These cases have popped up roughly at the same time, so we believe these pigs were exposed to something that had the virus in it at relatively the same point in time,” Schaeffer said. “There is a big move among the American Association of Swine Vets to track down what that source was.”
Vaccines for PEDV have seen mixed results in Asia, and there are no PEDV vaccines available yet in the U.S.
Schaeffer says biosecurity is the best way to prevent infection. Standard biosecurity practices in the swine industry include requiring workers and visitors to shower and don clean coveralls and boots before coming into contact with pigs, and taking steps to reduce the risk that an infection in one group of hogs will spread to another group. For more information, see the MU Extension guide “Biosecurity for Today's Swine Operation” (G2340), available for free download at extension.missouri.edu/p/G2340.
For more information about PEDV, go to the website of the American Association of Swine Veterinarians at www.aasv.org.