DES MOINES, Iowa — Following a unanimous vote by its board
of directors, the National Pork Board has committed to investing an additional
$350,000 toward research, education and coordination of efforts to better
understand porcine epidemic diarrhea virus.
This increase in funding is in addition to $450,000
announced in June, bringing total checkoff dollars invested to $800,000.
“Our No. 1 priority is to contain spread of the virus with
the goal of increasing the potential to eliminate the disease,” said Paul
Sundberg, NPB vice president of science and technology. “Through research we
just completed, we already have determined that transportation of sows and
market hogs can be a major risk factor in the spread of PEDV.”
Toward that end, Sundberg said the next step is to assemble
a core team of pork producers, veterinarians, packers and processors to refine a
specific biosecurity approach.
“The collaboration we have received in just the first two
months of study is outstanding. Each day we learn more about PEDV and its
impact, so these additional funds for timely research and national coordination
will allow us to help pork producers better address the virus, while preparing
us for other potential emerging disease scenarios,” he said.
The virus was first identified in U.S. swine herds in
mid-May, and as of mid-July, 346 cases of PEDV have been confirmed in 14 states,
with most in Iowa and Oklahoma.
“Pork producers immediately responded to PEDV. We have
already learned so much through increased cooperation among state and federal
agencies, professional organizations, associations and from the information pork
producers have willingly shared,” said National Pork Board President Karen
Richter, who raises hogs and farms with her family in Montgomery, Minn.
“Our focus on research, education and the sharing of
information is exactly where we need to provide checkoff funds. This investment
will contribute to a stronger organized effort and industry.”
While PEDV is widespread in many countries, it is not
The virus presents itself similarly to transmissible
gastroenteritis, another swine disease. The symptoms are clinically similar,
including diarrhea and dehydration, and can be fatal to small pigs —especially
those under three weeks of age.
Current research is focused on diagnostics and surveillance,
pathogenicity, transmission risk factors and educating pork producers and
transporters on steps they can take to eliminate it.
PEDV is spread in a fecal-oral manner. As such, pork
producers, handlers and transporters are urged to follow strict biosecurity
measures. Special care needs to be taken to wash and completely disinfect
If a pork producer suspects PEDV, they should immediately
consult a veterinarian since fast action in identification, containment and
biosecurity can stem its spread.
Researchers already have found the virus present on the
surfaces of truck and animal chutes, so having strict transportation biosecurity
is critical to stopping its spread. General transportation biosecurity tips
* When visiting a site or packing plant, transporters should wear coveralls
and boots to prevent contamination in the cab of the trailer and to minimize
exposure to other pigs;
* Establish a “clean” and “dirty” zone for farm and transport workers to
follow during load-in and load-out;
* Clean and disinfect trailers after use. This is especially important when
going to commingled sites such as cull depots, packing plants or buying
* Remove dirty shavings, manure and other debris. The use of a detergent
soap can help to break down dried manure and speed up the wash process. After
cleaning the trailer, use a disinfectant according to label directions to kill
* Wash coveralls, boots and other equipment when transporting pigs and
cleaning the interior of the tractor cab to remove any dirt or shavings;
* Once clean, park the tractor and trailer in a secure location away from
other vehicle traffic to dry.
“Many questions remain unanswered about PEDV, including how
it entered the U.S. and the precise number of pigs that have become infected,”
“What’s important to keep in mind is that PEDV is not a
human health issue, but rather a pig production disease, and we know that
enhanced biosecurity measures are extremely important in containing the virus.”