The swine industry is being threatened. This threat is so dangerous that swine producers like myself can see an average of 50% and often even 100% mortality rates in their newborn piglets that are less than seven days old. This dangerous situation is caused by the recently popular Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea Virus better known as PEDv.
This deadly virus has had a long history overseas known to be prevalent as early as 1982 in Asia. Now, PEDv is a danger to every swine here in America as it has been confirmed to be in the United States as of the spring of 2013. It is known that PEDv was brought to the United States from China after a group did farm tours and brought it through a small Ohio airport with poor international bio-security protocols. With PEDv causing severe diarrhea and dehydration, swine producers are taking the necessary steps to protect themselves.
Before swine producers can protect themselves, everyone should understand where the virus comes from. PEDv is out of the Coronaviridae family. This family included other viruses that have made themselves familiar in the swine industry such as transmissible gastroenteritis, porcine respiratory coronavirus, and porcine hemmaglutinatin encephalomyelitis which have all had their individual impacts on swine production.
To first prevent a farm from contacting PEDv producers must have a strict bio-security program implemented into their daily routine. As said by my boss from this summer,” bio-security is the most important thing you have to watch on a day to day basis.” The fact that PEDv can be transmitted through direct or indirect fecal-oral route requires farms to stay extremely clean. Any clothes worn around the swine on a farm should not be worn anywhere else to prevent any possible outside fecal matter to come in contact with the herd. Also, vehicles and farm supplies need to be kept clean and disinfected. Traditionally, disinfectant and drying are known ways to kill the PEDv virus. When bringing any other new hogs onto the farm the new hogs should always be quarantined for at least 30 days to make sure they are not present with the virus. Recently, there has been a vaccine offered to the public for PEDv, though the effectiveness in preventing PEDv is not 100% because of mutating strains. If swine catch PEDv, treatment is fairly limited. The main step that needs to be taken is finding the most effective way to prevent death due to dehydration.
As more knowledge of PEDv comes to light, swine production will now be fending off another dangerous threat. What the Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea virus holds for the future is yet unknown, but as a community, prevention of transmitting this virus through progressive bio-security protocols seems to be one of the few ways of protecting our farm from the potential travesty that the virus can cause.
Thank you for reading, I am Tyler Gradert from Geneseo, Illinois. I am a graduate of Black Hawk East College in 2014 and currently a senior at Western Illinois University. My family and I raise hogs and cattle while also having crop production.