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National Pork Board, Iowa Pork Producers approve PEDV research funds

By Jean Caspers-Simmet

Date Modified: 07/02/2013 11:03 AM

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DES MOINES —The National Pork Board and the Iowa Pork Producers Association are spending $527,000 to investigate Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea Virus, which was identified in U.S. swine herds for the first time three weeks ago.

The National Pork Board approved $450,000 at a meeting last week in Des Moines. The money will be paired with $77,000 approved by IPPA's research committee.

The funding was announced at last week's World Pork Expo in Des Moines. To help producers learn about PEDV, World Pork Expo meetings and education sessions were devoted to the disease.

"The National Pork Board took this action to help get answers to U.S. producers as quickly as possible to help protect their herds from this devastating disease," said Conley Nelson, an Algona producer who last week completed his term as National Pork Board president. "Because of the investment producers make as part of the Checkoff, we're able to respond quickly to sudden disease threats such as this."

PEDV isn't a new virus outside of the United States or a regulatory/reportable disease. It is a production-related disease that hits young pigs under three weeks of age particularly hard, said Paul Sundberg, Pork Checkoff's vice president of science and technology. In the handful of states where it has been identified, mortality rates have been high in pigs of this age, and older pigs that may get the virus typically recover.

PEDV has been diagnosed in Iowa, according to the Iowa Pork Industry Center at Iowa State University. Sundberg said the virus primarily is centered in the Midwest.

"Since PEDV is widespread in many countries, it is not a trade-restricting disease," Sundberg said. "While PEDV may appear clinically to be the same as transmissible gastroenteritis, or TGE virus with acute watery diarrhea, producers who suspect their herd may be infected should work with their herd veterinarian immediately if any TGE-like symptoms appear. They should also maintain strict biosecurity protocols."

The Pork Board's swine health committee will be working to get answers about the spread and transmission of the disease, along with measures to detect, diagnose, prevent and control it, Sundberg said. The committee and Pork Checkoff's science and technology team will work closely with the key industry partners, such as the American Association of Swine Veterinarians, the National Pork Producers Council and state pork associations.

PEDV was first diagnosed more than 40 years ago in Great Britain. Since then, there have been sporadic outbreaks in Europe, and it has become an endemic pig disease in Asia since 1982. PEDV affects only pigs, and there are no other known hosts. It poses no known public health threat, and there is no risk to food safety, Sundberg said. Pork remains completely safe to eat.

"The incubation period is very short — 12 to 24 hours — and the virus is shed for seven to 10 days," said Iowa Pork Industry Center director Rodney Baker. "Treatment is similar to that for other viral enteric diseases with clean, dry, draft free environment and high quality drinking water."

Veterinarians should contact the ISU Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory for information on what samples are preferred. The ISU lab is well prepared to diagnose PEDV and other pathogens that may mimic PEDV, Baker said.

More information on biosecurity and other facts about this virus and its potential impact are available on an Iowa Pork Industry Center fact sheet at