Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea Virus (PEDV), the nondiscriminator

When Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea Virus (PEDV) landed on American soil three years ago this month, it unleashed its fury and shocked the entire U.S. pork industry. This is part two of a three-part interview with pork industry leader Veterinarian Lisa Becton of the National Pork Board (NPB), NPB's Director of Swine Health Information and Research. In the first article, Dr. Becton discussed the importance of a biosecurity plan in reference to the fight against PEDV. In this segment, Becton reviews the lessons PEDV, has taught the industry, to date, as she says the virus doesn't discriminate.

Lessons Learned

The U.S. pork industry learned many lessons from the PEDV outbreak.

PEDV, says Becton, "doesn't care if you have a biosecurity plan or if you are big or small."

She notes PEDV did not discriminate on the scope of the operation infected. It did, however, "strengthen the need to work together as a team to protect our swine health, regardless of size," she says.

Not only did the virus call attention to the need for all pork producers to have a biosecurity plan in place, and to work together to fight the devastating disease, PEDV also reiterated the need for tools already in place such as premises identification.

"Premises ID has provided critical information on where the disease is occurring and how it is spreading," says Becton. That information is critical in order to establish a management plan not only for PEDV but for other diseases. "For example, if a disease is a slow spread you might manage it differently than a rapid spread like PEDV," she notes. Because of PEDV's rapid movement it "highlighted the need for an established information system to inform producers on how the virus spreads," said Becton.

The Necessity of a Biosecurity Plan

Becton reminds all producers to follow the biosecurity measures they have implemented on their farms. "Producers have done a great job incorporating biosecurity practices," she says. "They know to slow the spread of PEDV they must adhere to on-farm biosecurity practices daily. We know from PRRS [Porcine Reproductive & Respiratory Syndrome] and human nature that it is hard to remain focused and vigilant." Nevertheless, she says, "keep it up."

Producers' biosecurity diligence has been beneficial. Dr. Becton emphasizes that in 2015 the industry didn't experience explosive PEDV outbreaks such as it did in 2013. "The virus is not to the level it was several years ago," she says. "However, it is still very active and not going away; we still have to manage it."

Pigs that have been infected with PEDV are safe for human consumption, says Dr. Becton. "PEDV is not a human health issue; it is a pork health issue. We don't market ill animals."