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
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.”