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PEDV discussed at length during Minnesota Pork Congress

By Lisa Young
Agri News

Date Modified: 02/06/2014 12:11 PM

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MINNEAPOLIS — Porcine epidemic diarrhea virus was the hot topic during the Minnesota Pork Congress.

A full house attended the PEDV panel during the event held Jan. 14 in the Minneapolis Convention Center.

Thepork industry has more questions than answers right now on PEDV, but researchers are working hard to learn as much about the virus as they can as quickly as possible.

"I wish we had a whole lot of answers and a silver bullet, but I'll tell you right now, I don't," said Lisa Becton,a veterinarian and Director of Swine Health Information and Research for the National Pork Board.

Because it's been less than a year since the virus hit the ground running in the United States, Becton took the opportunity at Pork Congress to update producers on what researchers know and still are trying to understand. Voluntary Regional Porcine Reproductive and Respitory SyndromeElimination Project Coordinator David Wright, who presented on PRRS, and University of Minnesota Swine Health and Productivity Associate Professor Monserrat Torremorell,who presented on swine influenza, later joined Becton on a panel to answer audience questions about the diseases.

PEDV was first diagnosed in the United States in May 2013, which included some samples that were collected in April 2013, in swine on operations in Ohio, Indiana and Iowa.More than 2,000 cases have been found around the United States, Becton said. Although the virus had existed in Europe and Asia previously, researchers don't know much about it for two reasons.

"Sometimes, the funds aren't available (for research) overseas as we have here," Becton said. "Many (Asian and European pork producers) have accepted they have it and moved on."

"We move pigs around a lot, which increases risk,'' added Torremorell. "Our production model is a disadvantage."

The National Pork Board and state boards have partnered to fund extensive research on the virus. They primarily are focusing on understanding the effect the virus has on pigs and the ultimate effect on producers, with the ultimate goal of developing resources for stakeholders. Some things researchers have learned so far about PEDV are:

• It favors cold, cool climates, so infections are up in the winter.

• It spreads fecally and orally, although it may travel on dust particles in the wind.

• It spreads rapidly in high density areas

• It can survive under varied conditions, including in dry feed, slurried feed, feces and water.

• Fecal shed of the virus peaks at five to six days after infection and stops near 21 days, which is a gap from when pigs would stop showing clinical signs, so producers need to be extra cautious with post-infection hogs.

• Biosecurity is of the utmost importance, particularly separating what's in the trailer from what's on the farm. Let neighbors know if you have PEDV on your farm so they can increase their biosecurity measures, Becton said.

• Biosecurity at packing plants is a particular concern. Trailer wash facilities "are not mandatory" at packing plants, Becton said. "It's a mindset change. We are working with that sector," he said.

• For non-sow operations, thorough cleaning between herds can take a site from PEDV-positive to PEDV-negative.

The National Pork Board posts biweekly updates on findings and cautionary practices at pork.org/PEDV. Several PEDV factsheets theNPB has developed also are available on the site, including three manure handling guidelines: one for pork producers, one for commercial manure haulers and one for land owners.

In the coming months, research efforts will be focused on continued management strategies and surveillance for PEDV, as well as continuing to evaluate biosecurity measure effectiveness, Becton said.

The National Pork Board also has dedicated funds toward seed money for vaccine development. Several potential vaccines are being looked at, Becton said, but all still are in the experimental phase.