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PEDV: Worst yet to come?

By Staff | Aug 28, 2013

Dr. Rodney Baker, an Iowa State University veterinarian.

SHELDON – Researchers have determined the the porcine epidemic diarrhea virus that is decimating Midwest pork herds is 99.4 percent identical to the strain discovered in China.

They’ve also discovered the virus is transmitted either through fecal or oral routes.

These findings were given to pork producers Monday night to 30 Sheldon-area producers by the Iowa Pork Producers Association.

Although this virus presents much like transmissable gastro enteritis virus, PEDV is more resistant and deadly. High morbidity rates due to severe diarrhea make this a very serious problem especially among young pigs.

Dr. Rodney Baker, an Iowa State University veterinarian, who specializes in swine practice, was the key speaker on PEDV.

Dr. James McKean, an ISU professor of veterinary medicine

Baker said the scariest fact is the virus does not like hot, dry weather, but that in fact late fall and winter enhances the virus which will cause it to spread even faster.

Therefore, he believes the outbreak will be much greater in the following months. The worst fact of all, Iowa leads the rest of the country in infection rates, that coupled with the state being the top pork producer means there is a lot that needs to be done.

Baker said the virus is believed to stay active in manure pits for six weeks or longer making this an on-going threat to the pork population.

Stressing the severity of the virus, Baker said one gram of fecal matter from one pig with PEDV contains enough virus particles to infect all of the pigs in the United States.

Beginning with a few facts on the virus itself, he said the virus had never been in the United States previous to this spring and that it is believed to been brought from Asia.

The virus itself was first discovered in 1971 in Great Britain and was confirmed in the United States on May 17.

There is currently no vaccine available in the United States. There has been a vaccine developed in Asia, which has met with mixed results. Baker said the industry believes this is a virus which only affect pigs, and not other livestock or humans.

PEDV has an incubation period of 12 to 36 hours. It causes severe vomiting and diarrhea in pigs and can have up to a 100 percent mortality rate in suckling piglets in the first three weeks.

The greatest contamination factors are obviously the pigs themselves, followed closely by transportation.

Things such as feed truck drivers, trailers, employees, handling equipment, water supply and manure handlers all need to be highly monitored to stop the spread of this deadly virus.

Baker offered several bio-exclusion considerations that pork producers need to watch carefully.

Isolating new animals for at least 30 days as common practice, shower in/shower out, limiting traffic and including visitor logs, and pre-entry testing for PEDV just to mention a few.

In fact there was a buying station study conducted which took four swabs from trailer chutes. Of the four swabs, three tested positive for PEDV and 0 for TGE.

They also tested and found 17 percent of trailers entering were contaminated before even unloading the pigs, and an additional 11 percent became infected when leaving.

That 28 percent total, Baker said, was a shocking number.

Bio security is therefore at the forefront of stopping this epidemic from spreading further, Baker said.

He recommended monitoring transportation, considering potential cross-contamination and disinfecting everything coming into contact with these farms and the pigs.

Decontaminates can include bleach, 1 Stroke Environ, Virkon S, DC & R, and Tek-Tol, Baker said.

Other steps for biosecurity include:

  • Trucks, trailers and the people who drive them need to be vigilant in protecting herds. Trailers, in fact, need to be cleaned well, then it is recommended to be in a trailer dryer at a temperature of 150 degrees for at least 10 minutes.
  • Strict monitoring of routes using GPS and keeping logs will help.

KIS versus FAST

Dr. James McKean, an ISU professor of veterinary medicine, spoke about tests for drugs not permitted in food animals. This centered on avoiding residues and FDA inspections.

Commenting that there rules and approaches were introduced in 2012, making testing for residues easier, and can detect smaller amounts.

FDA inspections can be based on three different criteria, McKean said – randomly chosen, picked for cause, and authority for inspection and production site.

McKean said that if residue is present then this means producers did not follow the label for the drug.

He said the kidney inhibition swab test replaced the fast antimicrobial screen test and is more accurate in detecting residue in the kidney.

The kidney contains residue for a much longer time than the muscle, which was previously tested, McKean said.

They have also now enlisted the help of more inspectors so the rates for possibly getting tested, McKean said, and those inspectors “take their job very seriously.”

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