Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea Virus quickly spreading - KSFY News - Sioux Falls, SD News, Weather, Sports

Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea Virus quickly spreading

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It's called the Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea Virus and already it has killed 5 million piglets nationwide.

In South Dakota, it's been confirmed that 22 farms have been infected by this virus. At this time there is still no known vaccine.

State veterinarian Dr. Dustin Oedekoven says prior to last May, this virus was not known to exist in the US.  He says it appears to be a very similar strain that was last identified in China.

P.E.D.V. is highly contagious and can be spread through what Dr. Oedekoven calls "fecal oral route" -- so infected manure is one of the routes it is transmitted through.

Watery diarrhea and vomiting is a sign of the virus. It is fatal to piglets under seven days old.

Pigs that come in contact with trucks or trailors that previously hauled infected pigs from other farms can be exposed and become ill from P.E.D.V. 

The challenge right now is controlling the spreading.

"Making sure all the trucks coming onto the farm are cleaned prior to coming onto the farm, being cautious of where your delivery trucks are going on the farms, that they're not in contact with pigs on that farm, that they're not in contact with pigs on that farm and even people, the farm workers, can be a way for that virus to spread to the pigs," said Dr. Oedekoven.

Dr. Oedekoven says because the virus is new in the US, pigs don't have immunity built up against the virus.

P.E.D.V. numbers are even higher in neighboring Iowa and Minnesota. One Alvord, Iowa hog producer knows all too well.

"It went from one litter to 170 in a period of 48 hours," said Dwight Mogler, Pig Hill Company.

That's how fast P.E.D Virus spread on Mogler's sow far.

July 14 was the day the virus broke out. Nearly 10% of Mogler's annual production was lost.

The virus affects the digestive system.

"The pigs basically recover in a seven day period unless they're less than seven days of age. Those pigs don't have the ability. They dehydrate and don't have the ability to withstand the challenge. Clinical signs you observe in piglets that are nursing is their hair coats will become extremely dirty -- and so essentially what they're doing is they are basically shedding the linings of their intestines through their fecal matter," said Mogler.

Mogler's biggest concern is once your herd is infected -- how do you maintain immunity long-term?

"The difficult part is we have to have trucks that transport pigs away from the farm. We also have to have trucks that transport feed to the farm and so the transport risk is probably the most difficult one to manage," said Mogler.

Mogler says this is not an end of the world even for his business.

"This is the best of times and worst of times for pig production. As a result of the P.E.D. Virus, we actually are experiencing record high prices for lean hogs as we sell them to the packing plants today," said Mogler.

Mogler says a sow farm that is infected could plan on losing 5 to 10% of their annual pig production.

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