CARTHAGE, Ill. — Slowed, but not stopped.

That is the progress on PEDV, porcine epidemic diarrhea virus, reported Dr. Bill Hollis, a veterinarian with and partner in Carthage Veterinary Services and partner in Professional Swine Management.

“We are at approximately half of the industry has been exposed to the virus. The rate of new breaks has dropped considerably,” Hollis said.

While the rate of PEDV breaks ramped up during the winter months and into early spring, the rate of new breaks has slowed. However, that doesn’t mean the coronavirus, a strain similar to one found in China, has seen its end in the U.S. hog herd.

“There is still activity, and there is still risk. But the activity certainly has gone down,” Hollis said.

He noted that Professional Swine Management is one of the farms involved with a University of Minnesota PEDV reporting project, the UM Swine Health Monitoring Project. The project has a database of around two million sows across farms in the Midwest.

“We know there are approximately five million sows in the whole industry,” Hollis said.

Dr. Lisa Becton of the National Pork Board said research is ongoing and aimed at looking at how the virus might be transferred.

“A lot of the work on transmissibility and survivability was completed last year, so those are the things we’re still basing off of. A lot of our focus right now has been looking at the potential feed risks for the transference of PED. Those are the things that are still under investigation. We’re also really focusing on sow immunity because as we’re trying to clean up herds, we want to know how long it takes to build immunity, then how long does that last.” Becton said.

Hollis said research into the virus, which has a history in Asia and Europe, has produced some results.

“The good news is we’ve learned quite a bit about how to reduce the impact and how to get herds back to good production,” he said.

Harrisvaccines, based in Ames, Iowa, received conditional approval from the Food and Drug Administration on a vaccine to address PEDV.

“They have a second-generation vaccine now, which is presumed to have greater protection over the initial vaccine. There’s a short duration of immunity from the vaccine, but sufficient to provide protection in the farrowing crate to keep baby pigs alive,” Hollis said.

Hollis and Becton both said the industry has its eyes on the fall and winter ahead.

“We know it does not travel as well in warm temperatures, so our risks of transferring are down during the summer, but that will change in the fall and winter. And we do have approximately half the industry that has not seen the virus,” Hollis said.

“Cold weather provides a difficulty for any kind of disease transfer, whether that’s PRRS or PEDV, so it’s just trying to figure out where we are at now, go back and maybe revisit some studies we did last year and compare and work with our packers, work with our truck wash and sanitation and even manure haulers and look at all these different areas, as well as on-farm biosecurity,” Becton said

“I think what PEDV has done is it really told us we need to continue to focus on biosecurity and pretty much 24/7.”