An outbreak of Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea (PED) has recently been confirmed in Indiana and Iowa with suspect cases in Illinois and Colorado. This is a new virus to Canada and the United States so it is expected that there is no immunity in North American swine herds. PED has been found in swine herds in Europe and Asia starting in the early 1980s. PED is a production disease, affecting the growth and health of the animal. It is not zoonotic, meaning humans and other species can’t catch it from direct contact with pigs. This disease is also not a food safety concern and all pork products remain safe for consumption.
This disease is similar to TGE (Transmissible Gastroenteritis) and causes severe watery diarrhea in pigs and vomiting. The strain of PED virus found in the United States is 99 percent homologous (similar) to the Asian strain which remains highly contagious. Mortality in piglets is high (up to 80 percent) due to dehydration. Mortality in sows, nursery and finisher pigs is lower with clinical signs of fever, vomiting and diarrhea. Sudden death may occur, likely due to twisted gut following vomiting. Swine herds with confirmed PED in the United States were likely exposed to the virus 5-8 days prior to exhibiting clinical signs. The clinical expression can move through the affected barn unit rapidly, typically within 12-36 hours. Normally, producers will not see a difference in clinical signs between TGE and PED outbreaks. However, the PED virus survives well in high temperatures and is seen predominantly during the summer season. Confirmation of PED infections requires sampling and testing.
There is no treatment or effective vaccine available for PED so an emphasis should be made on prevention and control.
Although all transmission routes of PED have not been confirmed, it is suspected to be transmitted via infected pigs, transportation vessels and contaminated fomites, such as clothing, footwear and equipment. In order to help protect your herd from possible infections, review your biosecurity plans and strategies to increase biosecurity protocols. These strategies would include washing and disinfection protocols for all trucks returning from market, change of footwear, change of outerwear such as coveralls and washing hands prior to entry to the barns where pigs are housed.
The transmission of PED is fecal-oral route from infected pigs to naïve pigs. As this is a new virus to the United States, we can expect that most pigs are naïve. In fact, a small amount of virus transported on coveralls or footwear and worn into your farm can infect your herd. Ensure that you are changing footwear and coveralls when coming from a public pig area back to your farm. Other biosecurity measures include limiting visitors onto the farm site and washing and disinfecting transporting equipment with a 6 percent chlorine solution at a 1:32 ratio. Also ensure that other fomites such as equipment is clean and disinfected prior to entry of your barn. Limit movement of equipment such as shovels, snares and syringes to one location. Incoming stock should be held offsite for a minimum of 28 days.