INDIANAPOLIS — Porcine epidemic diarrhea virus continues to
affect swine producers across the country, including Indiana.
As of April 9, 46 Indiana counties reported having active
cases of PEDV. According to the National Pork Board, PEDV is caused by a virus
that affects only pigs.
The virus is most often fatal to young pigs, which have
“been hit the hardest,” said Melissa Justice, veterinarian and director of the
swine department at the Indiana Board of Animal Health.
PEDV causes diarrhea, vomiting, dehydration and mortality in
pigs. Although it mostly appears in young pigs, it also affects hogs.
In Indiana, an exact number of cases is not known, but the
animal health board has produced a state map depicting counties with active
cases of PEDV. Indiana is the only state to have a government-produced map of
The virus, transmitted by feces, doesn’t affect humans,
other livestock or food, Justice said. There is not a cure for PEDV, but the
symptoms of vomiting, diarrhea and dehydration can be treated, she said.
Those who suspect an outbreak should call a local
veterinarian who can better decide what practices to use, Justice said.
Veterinarians also can develop an accurate diagnosis through testing.
Although Justice will largely refer those who call to a
local veterinarian, she also shares a list of guidelines producers should
Swine producers should be aware of what they are buying and
where it is from. If a pig is thought to have the virus it should be placed in
isolation, Justice said.
Other preventative practices include wearing personal
protective equipment, such as plastic boots, and limiting the delivery and
personnel traffic to the farm, Justice said. Common sources of infected feces
are pigs, trucks, boots and clothing.
PEDV also has been diagnosed in exhibition swine. In an
effort to meet concerns, the state board is working with Indiana Pork Producers
Association to form a show pig committee.
The groups are coordinating a way to get the message —
perhaps through social media — to the youth sector, said Denise Derrer, BOAH
public information director.
Instead of changing the rules state officials decided to
continue education of biosecurity protocols for shows, exhibitions and sales was
the best choice.
The board has received many calls regarding 4-H tagging and
vaccination, and the suggestion from Justice has been that the animals be left
in the trailers and that personnel change plastic boots and coveralls between
A lot of time has been spent researching PEDV and how it’s
affecting Indiana, said Bret Marsh, the state veterinarian.
The Indiana outbreaks are comparable to what other states
are experiencing, Justice said.
While there still are questions as to how it got here and
how to keep it out, swine producers will know if their animals have it because
of the high mortality rate, Marsh said.
“(PEDV) leads to a lot of speculation, but I think the
national pork association has stepped up to find answers over long term,” Marsh
The National Pork Board continues to provide information
about PEDV and recently set aside $650,000 for new research. Those with
questions should visit its website at www.pork.org/ped.