First identified in England (in 1971) and more recently in China, Korea, and Japan, PEDV had not been detected in the U.S. until a couple months ago. No one is sure how it entered, but by early August 434 positive cases of PEDV were confirmed in 16 states. There are likely many more cases since PEDV is not a reportable disease. It is not unreasonable to assume that the virus has already contaminated every packing plant and hog buying station in the nation.
As its name implies, PEDV causes diarrhea in swine. Baby pigs are the most severely affected, with severe cases approaching 100% death loss. Sows can also get quite sick. Some farrowing units have gone 3-5 weeks without weaning a pig. Because of that, we’re very concerned about preventing infection in breeding herds.
The virus can also cause diarrhea in nurseries and finishers, although nursery mortality rates may increase by only 1-3%, and PEDV has virtually no impact on finisher mortality.
Keeping PEDV off our farms
Observe biosecurity protocols, including Danish entry practices: clean boots and coveralls, disinfection and quarantine of all incoming supplies and equipment. Wash, disinfect, and dry trucks and trailers thoroughly before bringing them on to the farm to transport pigs.
We know PEDV is transmitted in manure, so we’re encouraging all producers to be very aggressive with biosecurity. Give special attention to trailer sanitation. A recent project by the AASV showed that 22% of trailers leaving packing plants were contaminated. Wash, disinfect, and dry trailers and trucks thoroughly before bringing them onto the farm to transport pigs.
Farm workers and visitors should observe proper downtime. Arrive with clean vehicles, don’t wear clothing that’s been to other farms, and observe other biosecurity protocols, including Danish entry practices: clean boots and coveralls, disinfection and quarantine of all incoming supplies and equipment.
Pipestone System has implemented all of these protocols at our managed sow farms and is reviewing all biosecurity practices prior to the upcoming fall and winter months. We’re also working with our genetics suppliers to effectively monitor our breeding stock sources for PEDV and PRRS virus. And, we’re collaborating with other groups, including the University of Minnesota, to better understand how this virus is transmitted.
There is currently no PEDV vaccine available in the U.S., and because it is a virus, there are no antibiotics or other medications we can use to kill the virus once it enters the pig. We do know, however, that current disinfectants can kill or neutralize the virus—which is why we recommend the use of disinfectant as part of biosecurity.
Pipestone Veterinary Clinic and Pipestone System will continue to update you as we gather more information about the origin of this virus and its effective management. Please address specific questions or concerns to your herd veterinarian.