Recently reaching North Dakota, the porcine epidemic diarrhea virus (PEDv) poses such a high risk to pigs that everyone involved with the pork industry needs to take precautions.
Along with North Dakota, PEDv has been found in parts of Canada and in 23 states, some of which neighbor North Dakota. Pork industry reports show estimates of more than 4 million pigs that died due to PEDv.
“It causes acute diarrhea and dehydration in pigs,” said Roman M. Pogranichniy, DVM, Ph.D., and Diagnostic Virologist at Purdue University.
According to NDSU Extension, older pigs have a great chance of survival when infected with PEDv, but newborn piglets from herds that haven’t been previously exposed to the virus have shown a mortality rate of nearly 100 percent.
“The virus is spread by infected animals or infected fecal material from sick pigs,” said Pogranichniy. “Pigs have to be infected orally by live viral particles in order to become sick.”
PEDv has been found in many areas with heavy pig populations such as processing plants, pig collection points and transport vehicles.
According to Pogranichniy, diagnosis of PEDv is done by a Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory.
“A Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory will evaluate animals presented with cases resembling PEDv by a histopathology procedure and identifying lesions on the animals,” said Pogranichniy. “Additional tests could be done such as polymerase chain reaction (PCR) or virus isolation (VI) to detect the virus, or indirect fluorescent antibody assay (IFA) to detect antibodies against PEDv.”
As of Feb. 14, an order by Dr. Susan Keller, North Dakota state veterinarian, stated that all swine coming into North Dakota must be accompanied by a health certificate declaring that they haven’t been exposed to PEDv.
The certification doesn’t apply to pigs that are just passing through North Dakota while being transported from Canada or states outside of North Dakota.
Imported swine into North Dakota for breeding or feeder purposes must be individually identified according to the following requirements stated in 9 CFR §71.19b. 1-8:
“Official eartags, when used on any swine.
USDA back tags can be used on swine moving to slaughter.
Official swine tattoos, when used on swine moving to slaughter, when the use of the official swine tattoo has been requested by a user or the State animal health official, and USDA –APHIS-VS authorizes its use, so as to provide identification of the swine.
Tattoos of at least 4-characters when used on swine moving to slaughter, except sows and boars as provided in §78.33 of this chapter.
Ear notching when used on any swine, if the ear notching has been recorded with a purebred registry association.
Tattoos on the ear or inner flank of any swine, if the tattoos have been recorded with a swine registry association.
For slaughter swine and feeder swine, an eartag or tattoo bearing the premises identification number assigned by the State animal health official to the premises on which the swine originated; and any other official identification device or method that is approved by USDA –APHIS –VS.”
Pogranichniy offers some helpful tips to producers in order to prevent their pigs from contracting PEDv.
“Hog producers should talk to their practicing veterinarians about PEDv and start monitoring herd status for PEDv on the farm and making observations for clinical signs and using diagnostic assays (PCR for PEDv),” he said. “Producers should also increase biosecurity on the farm to prevent virus introduction by infected animals or contaminated items, such as trucks on the farm.”
Biosecurity involves making sure the swine barn is clean and virus-free, and establishing a line of separation between the clean area (the barn) and the dirty area (anywhere outside the barn). It also includes washing boots and clothing before and after being around swine, and cleaning and disinfecting vehicles used to transport pigs.