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Veterinarians Working to Control PEDv Outbreak in 17 States

Posted: Aug. 20, 2013, 4:35 p.m. EDT

 Piglets
Though PEDv has been identified in the United States in a small number of herds, piglets are at special risk.
Porcine epidemic diarrhea virus (PEDv), a highly contagious disease that typically kills at least half of all infected piglets, has spread to 17 states and brought together industry and academia in pursuit of a rapid diagnostic test.

The National Veterinary Services Laboratory confirmed the first-ever U.S. case of PEDv in April. The disease has been present in Europe for decades as well as in China, Korea and Japan, the National Pork Board reported.

PEDv is transmitted orally to pigs of all ages through feces and contaminated farm equipment and clothing. Acute watery diarrhea is a common sign of the disease, but confirmation requires laboratory testing.

Zoetis Inc., an animal health company headquartered in Florham Park, N.J., reported today that it is working with researchers at the University of Minnesota to develop a rapid PEDv diagnostic test.

"As a veterinarian, I am committed to finding a solution, including quick-yielding diagnostic tools and efficacious vaccines, that can control this devastating virus,” said Michael Senn, DVM, MS, manager of Pork Technical Services at Zoetis. "We are drawing upon our global research and development resources as well as working with health authorities and veterinary centers of excellence worldwide to identify effective solutions and help the pork industry achieve results.”

PEDv, similar to transmissible gastroenteritis, can wipe out a young herd, killing all infected piglets up to 3 weeks old. Weaned pigs and adult pigs are at less risk but may suffer stunted growth, Zoetis stated.

Producers and veterinarians must remain on alert, Dr. Senn said.

"It’s important that producers remain vigilant to their herd’s health and contact their veterinarian if they suspect abnormalities,” he said. "This outbreak serves as a good reminder to review biosecurity practices with your employees, truckers and consultants who have regular contact with your farm.”

The American Association of Swine Veterinarians’ suggested biosecurity practices include:

• Label and use chutes for either loading or unloading only.

• Wash and disinfect all unloading chutes and driver areas using a 2 percent phenol-based disinfectant.

• Clean and disinfect all trailers used to pick up animals before the transports arrive at a farm.

• Require all farm employees and visitors to wear coveralls and boots. The clothing should stay onsite and be washed routinely.

Porcine epidemic diarrhea virus has been reported in 17 states: Colorado, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, North Carolina, New York, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas and Wisconsin.

Nearly 1,000 swine samples tested positive for PEDv through the week of Aug. 4, according to the National Animal Health Laboratory Network. More than one-third of the positive samples came from Oklahoma.

Pork produced from infected pigs remains safe to eat, the National Pork Board noted.

"Since PEDv is widespread in many countries, it is not a trade-restricting disease, but rather a production-related disease,” the Des Moines, Iowa-based group reported.

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