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NPPC: PEDv slowed, but is still big threat

By Staff | Jun 12, 2014

DR. DALE POLSON, an Iowa State University’s senior veterinarian, relates lessons learned after a year of the swine industry studying PEDv and asked who’s listening and taking appropriate steps to avoid herd infection.

DES MOINES – According to the National Pork Producers Council, the incidence of porcine epidemic diarrhea virus appears to be slowing across most of the U.S.

And one veterinarian recommends taking steps “to tamp it down before next fall.”

Amid new products and services for the swine industry and market updates, the key focus at the first day of the World Pork Expo was the baby pig-killing virus that was first announced a year ago during the Expo.

Three news conferences addressed the PEDv issue on June 4. The virus is confirmed in 30 states, Virginia having been added this week, affecting 6,600 U.S. farms.

According to Dr. Phil Gauger, one of four speakers at a Boehringer-Ingelheim Vetmedica-sponsored PEDv update, Iowa continues to lead the nation in confirmed cases with 1,971 farms, followed by Minnesota, Illinois, North Carolina and Oklahoma.

In just a year, the virus is believed to have killed 7 million pigs, 1.3 million in January alone.

But according to Dr. Howard Hill, president of the NPPC, the incidents of new farms affected is slowing.

Dr. Tom Burkgren, of the American Association of Swine Veterinarians, said the slowdown was expected, since warm weather seems to make the virus sluggish, while cold weather accelerates it.

“It’s not going away,” Burkgren said. “You have to expect some outbreaks this fall. It’s time to tamp it down before next fall.”

At the Ingelheim-Boehringer Vetmedica seminar, Gauger, director of Iowa State University’s Molecular Diagnostic Section, said after a year of research, the industry has learned:

A). There are now at least two strains of PEDv of the alpha family. They are fecal-oral transmitted, incubates from 12 to 18 hours and show clinical symptoms within 24 hours of infection.

B). A third related hog sickness is being caused by porcine deltacoronavirus (PDCoV). It is not PEDv. It’s in the same family, but different genus. It was confirmed in the U.S. by ISU on Aug. 21, 2013.

C). PDCoV has similar symptoms as PEDv, so specific testing analysis is needed for treatment of infected pigs.

D). Immunity against PEDv seems to not last too long in some cases. Indiana researchers confirmed earlier this week that at least one farm has been re-infected with PEDv, after sows had already contacted and survived the virus.

“Apparently,” said Gauger, “multiple vaccinations will need to be administered.”

Dr. Dale Polson, a senior veterinarian with Boehringer-Ingelheim Vetmedica, estimated that another 6 million pigs could die from PEDv in 2014 “if everything keeps going as it has been.” His assessment included the disease’s summer slowdown.

“PEDv is talking,” Polson told his audience, “but are we listening?”

He said the industry has learned much, but needs to know so much more and called for more openness in communications of where the disease is and how transmitted, more emphasis on biosecurity measures and more funding cooperation between different industry sectors for research.

“There’s not much difference from an infected farm,” Polson said, “and an infected state.

“The common ground is the escape of the virus.”

Dr. Erin Johnson, technical manager for BIVI Solutions team, outlined how regional producers can begin communications among themselves, with ag businesses and others to share expertise with dealing with the virus and keeping one’s farm from getting it, or reacquiring it.

The motto is,” Johnson said, “transmit to your neighbor, the way you want to be transmitted to.”

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