The Washington State Department of Agriculture (WSDA) has adopted an emergency rule requiring all swine entering the state to carry evidence the animals are free of the Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea (PED) virus, a disease which can make adult pigs ill and be fatal to suckling piglets. The new rule takes effect immediately and will remain in force for at least 120 days.

There is no public health risk from the PED virus because it cannot be transferred to other animals or humans. It is also not transferred through pork products. However, the disease can be fatal to piglets three weeks old and younger.

Already, the virus is responsible for the deaths of millions of suckling piglets since it was first diagnosed in the United States last spring. It is unclear how the virus entered the U.S., but it appears to be spread through a range of methods, not just on live animals.

All animals, including pigs, entering the state are already required to have a health certificate signed by a licensed veterinarian stating the animal is disease free. The new requirement for swine entering Washington will now require that the certificates include the following statement:

“To the best of my knowledge, swine represented on this certificate have not originated from premises known to be affected by Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea virus (PEDv), and have not been exposed to PEDv within the last 30 days.”

The certificate must be signed by the animal owner as well as a veterinarian.

In addition to this new requirement, Acting State Veterinarian Dr. Paul Kohrs has advised anyone planning to show their pigs in fairs or exhibits, including 4-H and FFA groups, to keep their swine apart during weigh-ins and tagging activities before the events.

“This disease has not been seen in Washington, but we’re aware it has been confirmed in multiple states,” Kohrs said. “Our main goal is to ensure the health of our state’s pork industry, but we also want animal owners preparing to show their pigs at local fairs and exhibits to make sure their own pigs are healthy and stay that way.”

For questions, visit WSDA’s webpage on the PED virus or contact the State Veterinarian’s Office at 360-902-1881. To obtain a permit for importing livestock, including pigs, call WSDA at 360-902-1878.