Over the past several weeks there has been considerable anecdotal evidence to suggest that the rate of PEDv outbreaks in the United States has accelerated.

The figure below appears on the website of the American Association of Swine Veterinarians (AASV) and shows the weekly number of new cases reported in the United States. In the latest week reported, 265 new cases were added, bringing the total of cases reported since April 2013 to 2,957. The data indicates that reported PEDv cases jumped in January. While the average weekly number of new cases in December was 141.2, the average number in January—through January 26— was 220.5.

In all likelihood, however, this number understates the number of cases because not every outbreak site is sampled and tested for the disease. Moreover, the AASV sample reports operations with no information provided on the number of swine affected.

A USDA/APHIS technical note states, “…PED is not a listed disease for either the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) or the USDA, so no quarantines or movement restrictions are in place either internationally or interstate.” The absence of reporting requirements obviously makes it difficult to quantify the national incidence of the disease and to estimate its economic effects.

The data depicted in the first figure below is also reported on the AASV website by type of operation: suckling, nursery, grower/finisher, sow/boar, and unknown. These data, shown in the second figure below, highlight the particular vulnerability of very young animals (the “suckling” category in this dataset) to the disease.

The USDA/APHIS Technical Note states, “In suckling pigs, mortality commonly reaches 50-80 percent…” Due to the continued spread of the disease and the likely impact that the loss of young animals strongly implies, USDA lowered its forecast of 2014 pork production by a total of 160 million pounds, or -0.7 percent from its previous forecast.

Production losses from PED-related animal deaths in 2014 are expected to be partially offset by continued strong increases in slaughter weights. Average dressed weights in 2014 are expected to be about 210 pounds per head, more than 3 pounds above weights in 2013.

While year-over-year slaughter numbers are expected to be lower, total pork production in 2014 is expected to be 23.4 billion pounds, 1 percent above last year.

Source: Livestock, Dairy and Poultry report