The American Association of Swine Veterinarians (AASV) executive director Tom Burkgren told Feedstuffs last week that the porcine epidemic diarrhea virus (PEDV) has reached 31 states after two additional state veterinarians have confirmed the arrival in virus. This should be reflected in the next weekly report.
The National Animal Health Laboratory Network (NAHLN) is still diagnosing over 200 positive cases per week. For the week ending April 12, 2014 262 PEDV cases were confirmed from 819 samples tested across 6 veterinary diagnostic labs, which makes the weekly case average less than previous month.
A sample can represent 1 pig on the farm or the several animals in a herd. For that reason there has been concern that the number of cases are either underreported or over reported as infected farms are being retested.
A coordinated industry effort, which includes the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), to control the virus has been ongoing since the virus outbreak. In very early stages, the topic of mandatory reporting has been discussed.
Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced April 18 the USDA will require reporting of PEDV and swine delta coronavirus in order to slow the spread of this disease in the U.S.
In addition, the USDA will also require tracking movement of pigs, vehicles and other equipment leaving affected premises; however, movements would still be allowed.
“I think we are early in the discussion on mandatory reporting. We do not have a lot of details on what USDA is thinking,” said Burkgren.
In the new release, USDA said it will be dependent on swine veterinarians and industry leaders to assist in development of a monitoring and control procedures. The details -such as how often to test herds, biosecurity procedures requirements, herd-level control procedures and the qualification to release a herd from the monitoring program- are yet to be determined.
“The farther we get away from the initial outbreak from last April and May that data is probably coming less useful,” explained Burkgren.
A larger concern is how PEDV arrived to the U.S.
“We do not fully understand the pathway of entry for the virus and accompanying that concern is the pathway may still be open today,” said Burkgren.
In addition, the open pathway may give access to future disease outbreaks. The swine delta coronavirus came in the same pathway as PEDV, added Burkgren.
Still, the nature of the PEDV is a learning curve. As a cousin to the transmissible gastroenteritis (TGE), industry experts anticipate the virus not spread as rapidly during warmer temperatures. However, Burkgren explained that an unexpected outbreak last summer in Oklahoma, during a period of hot temperatures and low humidity, prove that theory wrong. Eventually, only time will provide the answers.
At this point the old standards of extensive sanitation practices which includes transportation and limiting entries on to farms will remain the outmost importance.
Currently, the spread of PEDV in Canada has not taken the fast tracks as it did in the U.S. partly because the country has the benefit from the U.S.’s battle.
On the whole, Burkgren said, Canada has done great job so far in controlling the disease.
“My concern is the virus is there and from our lesson learned in the U.S. sometimes it’s the smallest mistakes made that costs you dearly,” he added. “A dirty trailer, not changing clothes could kill you in the end.”
As of April 15, Ontario has 52 cases of PEDV since it crossed the northern border in January.