Take Educated Approach to Limiting PEDV Spread

Keeping porcine epidemic diarrhea virus away starts with communication, says the Pork Checkoff

Published on: Jan 24, 2014

Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea Virus has spread to more than 20 states so far on its way across the country, says the Pork Checkoff.

However, efforts to track and contain the disease are definitely helped by producers talking with their veterinarians and their farm neighbors about any change in PEDV status and efforts to prevent the virus' spread.

While many of the details surrounding the virus are still unfolding, what is known is that it transfers via swine feces and survives in manure for extended periods of time. That means anything that manure and the virus contacts can be a source of infection. Winter slush and muck are particularly helpful in keeping the virus on the move.

Keeping porcine epidemic diarrhea virus away starts with communication, says the Pork Checkoff
Keeping porcine epidemic diarrhea virus away starts with communication, says the Pork Checkoff

With that in mind, the Pork Checkoff offers a few recommendations for pork producers to limit PEDV spread.

Be Prepared

Whether or not your herd has encountered PEDV, there are several actions to consider.

While a positive diagnosis can be a touchy message to pass on, it's the responsible thing to do. Start with a commitment to communicate with farm personnel as well as neighboring producers, service providers and veterinarians. Certainly a positive diagnosis can be a touchy message to pass on but it is the responsible thing to do.

"I consider it my ethical responsibility to alert others if I have PEDV," says Dale Norton, who operates a 1,500-sow farm in southern Michigan and serves a vice president of the National Pork Board. "It's important to know where infection is and isn't, so you don't take PEDV-positive pigs into an area."

Norton sells two-thirds of his weaned pigs to two producers, located 20 miles away from his home farm, and finishes out the remaining hogs at three contract sites, 30 miles away. Recently he brought in a long-time swine nutritionist to serve as a facilitator to help write up procedures in the event Norton's herd breaks with PEDV. "I want protocols in place ahead of time so that our buyers and contractors understand what and why we need to do certain things," Norton says. All parties will then sit down and discuss the strategies in detail.