Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea virus (“PED”), an unwelcome emerging virus new to the United States has been increasingly reported as the cause of large numbers of mortalities in swine herds in the U.S. Fortunately, unlike other emerging diseases, such as West Nile Virus, a virus first identified in the U.S. in 1999, PED does not infect people. Even so, its damaging impact to swine and the farmers who raise them, should not be ignored.
Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea, a coronavirus, “typically results in acute outbreaks of severe diarrhea, vomiting, high morbidity (often 100%) and variable mortality (as high as 100% in young pigs),” when introduced into a swine herd for the first time.
- Biosecurity of visitors and vehicles entering or exiting the premises;
- Biosecurity of employees entering or exiting the premises;
- Periodic herd health observation;
- Livestock transport biosecurity;
- Cleaning and disinfection of facilities;
- Diagnostic testing to monitor status of the herd infection and assess efficacy of control strategies; and
- Maintenance of records on pig movement.
Requiring reporting of the disease should help federal and state animal health officials, industry experts, and farmers not only track the spread of disease, but also implement strategies to limit that spread. At the same time, research has been ramped up signficantly, and effective vaccines will hopefully soon be available to prevent the disease in susceptible herds.