WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — Indiana 4-H members showing swine at
fairs this summer should take steps to reduce the chance of exposing their
animals to a viral disease deadly to young pigs, a Purdue University professor
of veterinary medicine said.
Health officials say the disease poses no health threat to
the public or other animals, and there is no risk to food safety.
Porcine epidemic diarrhea virus is spread by pigs eating
contaminated feces or bedding or transferred by objects such as livestock
trailers, equipment, feed and clothing and boots.
“The virus can affect all age groups of pigs, but the
mortality rate is highest for young pigs,” said Stephen Hooser, who also is
director of the Indiana Animal Disease and Diagnostic Laboratory, based at
Purdue. “Older pigs usually recover.”
The Indiana Board of Animal Health issued disease management
recommendations for exhibitors, which include ensuring barn and equipment
sanitation, checking livestock for signs of illness and isolating animals before
returning them to the herd.
Putting livestock from different farms together increases
the chance that infected swine could transmit the virus to other swine.
Biosecurity measures help prevent PEDV from being introduced into other herds as
the animals return to their home herd or to another facility.
More than 10,000 Indiana youth were enrolled in the 4-H
swine project during 2012.
“They don’t all exhibit, but the majority of those who do
exhibit show more than one animal,” said Aaron Fisher, 4-H youth development
specialist in animal science.
Last year, 1,100 4-H exhibitors showed a total of 1,900 hogs
at the Indiana State Fair.
All members who exhibit must earn Youth Pork Quality
Assurance Plus certification through the National Pork Board, Fisher
PEDV was confirmed for the first time in the U.S. this
spring, with the earliest cases found in Iowa and Indiana. Cases have been
confirmed in more than a dozen states since.
Lab testing is the only way to accurately diagnose the
disease, as it has the same symptoms — diarrhea, vomiting and dehydration — as
transmissible gastroenteritis virus, known as TGEV, said Roman Pogranichniy,
associate professor of virology and head of the virology testing section of the
Animal Disease and Diagnostic Laboratory.
Indiana swine producers noticed illness in pigs of all ages,
which is unusual, he said.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Veterinary
Service Laboratory is conducting the majority of testing to confirm PEDV. The
Indiana Animal Disease and Diagnostic Laboratory has been testing to either
confirm or rule out TGEV or rotavirus as the cause, Pogranichniy said.
There have been at least nine confirmed cases of PEDV in
“While PEDV has been in Europe and Asia, it’s a new,
emerging disease in the United States,” Pogranichniy said. “We will need to
develop testing for it in the near future.”
He is looking for funding opportunities to begin research on