National Pork Board Provides PEDV Research Funds

Cindy Zimmerman

Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea Virus (PEDV) was a big topic of discussion at the World Pork Expo this past week and the National Pork Board announced the investment of $450,000 in Checkoff funds to help speed research into finding answers to this new disease threat facing the domestic pork industry. This amount, coupled with funds just approved by the Iowa Pork Producers Association’s research committee, brings the current total devoted to PEDV research to $527,000 from the two producer-based organizations.

wpx13-npb-sundbergDr. Paul Sundberg, the Pork Checkoff’s vice president of science and technology, gave an update on the disease – which was first confirmed in the U.S. last month. “It’s changing everyday as we go,” he said. “We don’t have hard numbers because any number I give you would be out of date as soon as we walk out of here. What we know is that it’s primarily centered in the Midwest right now and we’re monitoring the distribution as we go to try to figure out how to help producers and veterinarians get on top of this.”

PEDV was first confirmed in Iowa, Indiana and Illinois but cases are being reported in several other states including Colorado, Oklahoma, Ohio, Michigan and Minnesota. Dr. Sundberg notes that PEDV is not a new virus outside of the United States nor a regulatory/reportable disease, but rather a production-related disease that hits young pigs under three weeks of age particularly hard. Mortality rates have been high in pigs of this age, while older pigs that may get the virus typically recover.

“While PEDV may appear clinically to be the same as transmissible gastroenteritis (TGE) virus with acute diarrhea, producers who suspect their herd may be infected should work with their herd veterinarian immediately if any TGE-like symptoms appear,” said Sundberg. “And, as always, they should maintain strict biosecurity protocols.”

The objectives of the Pork Board’s swine health committee, which will oversee the PEDV research, will be to get real answers about the spread and transmission of the disease, along with measures to detect, diagnose, prevent and control it.

Listen to Sunberg’s comments here: Dr. Paul Sundberg, National Pork Board

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