Porcine Diarrhea Virus Not a Food Safety Risk

Iowa Pork Industry Center, National Pork Board stress that PED virus is not a threat to food safety or other species

Published on: May 23, 2013

Following the May 17 identification of Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea Virus in the U.S., the National Pork Board and Iowa State Extension are stressing that the virus is not transmissible to humans, poses no food safety threat and is species-specific.

Dr. Paul Sundberg, National Pork Board vice president of science and technology, said this week that the disease, which exhibits similar symptoms to transmissible gastroenteritis virus, is potentially fatal. Piglets are most susceptible, he said.

Currently, producers may avoid the disease by providing access to quality drinking water and a dry, draft-free environment. The Iowa Pork Industry Center reports that providing electrolytes is also beneficial.

Iowa Pork Industry Center, National Pork Board stress that PED virus is not a threat to food safety or other species
Iowa Pork Industry Center, National Pork Board stress that PED virus is not a threat to food safety or other species

IPIC further notes that the incubation period is relatively short – 12-24 hours – and the disease is spread through the fecal-oral route. Common sources can be other pigs, trucks, shoes and clothing.

If the disease is suspected, IPIC recommends 100% herd closure. TGE vaccines are not effective against PED, the center notes.

The disease was first diagnosed in Great Britain in 1971, IPIC said. Since that time there have been sporadic outbreaks in other countries, though this is the first appearance of the disease in the U.S.

"The thing that makes [this outbreak] unique is this is the first time we have found it in the U.S. This is not a new virus at all, this is just the first identification," Sundberg noted.

A key message to consumers, the Pork Board and the IPIC said, is that there is no known public health threat, it will not affect animals and it does not compromise food safety.

The virus was first identified in Iowa, NPB's Sundberg explained, with a producer noting TGE symptoms. The producer then contacted a veterinarian who consulted a diagnostic lab, and then a federal diagnostic lab.

The disease, which is not reportable to the World Organization for Animal Health, the Pork Board said, is not expected to affect trade.