Nearly two months after it was first confirmed in the United States, the Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea Virus is continuing its spread across the country, now confirmed in 15 states.
According to the National Pork Board, more than 330 cases have been confirmed in Arkansas, Colorado, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, North Carolina, New York, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania and South Dakota.
The virus, which appears with similar symptoms as transmissible gastroenteritis, was first detected in Iowa, and though it had not been previously reported in the U.S., it has been present in Great Britain, China, Korea and Japan.
While the disease poses no threat to food safety or human health, it is known to cause high mortality rates among piglets. It is transmitted via the fecal-oral route and symptoms may appear within 12 to 36 hours of onset.
Because the disease can be transmitted on farm workers' clothing or by other pigs, the National Pork Board recommends the pork producers focus on improving transportation and on-farm biosecurity to limit its spread.
First, when going to another site or packing plant, NPB advises producers to wear coveralls and boots to prevent contamination in the cab of the trailer and to minimize exposure to other pigs. Also, disinfect trailers and vehicle cabs, preferably using a 2% phenol-based disinfectant.
North Carolina veterinarian Dr. Matthew Turner said also that the virus can live on chutes and other handling tools. Therefore, it's necessary to isolate and monitor pigs coming on to farm premises, and provide disposable boots and clothing covering for workers and transport drivers.
Though little is known about the origin of the virus, the National Pork Board last month approved $450,000 in pork checkoff dollars to research where it started and fund control measures.
The funds are in addition to money already pledged by the Iowa Pork Producers Association. Together, total funds for research amount to $527,000.