Researchers ID third strain of PEDv

iStock_000003693823Large_blogResearchers at the University of Minnesota Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory have identified a third strain of the porcine epidemic diarrhea (PED) virus in the U.S. and believe this is a sign that the virus will continue mutating as producers work to contain it.

Named “Minnesota188” or “S2aa-del”, this strain was found to be at least as virulent as an original strain that emerged in the U.S. in early 2013. Since then, a second, less-virulent strain has also been discovered and together the two strains are responsible for killing approximately eight million pigs, roughly 10% of the U.S. hog population, in the past two years. This in turn has caused a reduction in the pork supply and has been largely responsible for pushing pork prices to record highs.

According to a recent article, the third strain was discovered by sequencing the complete PEDv genome by using next generation sequencing that clarified the relationship between the U.S. PEDv strains. Researchers reportedly believe that the original pig virus strain likely mutated due to an increased immunity response in hog herds and that documenting PEDv variation is vital to understanding the natural evolution of the virus and in identifying portions of the genome associated with different clinical disease features.

Traces of the virus were first discovered in Asia and Europe in the 1970s, but it is still unknown how the virus came to the U.S. Causing extreme diarrhea in baby pigs, researchers have previously determined that the virus spreads from pig to pig by contact with manure, which contains the virus. It can also be spread from farm to farm on trucks, and means that hog producers are advised to thoroughly wash trucks and other equipment just as they should to avoid the previous two strains.

“Whether or not exposure to one of the earlier strains provides protection against this strain, I don’t think anybody knows the answer to that question,” Harry Snelson, a veterinarian who represents the American Association of Swine Veterinarians, said in a recent interview.

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, PEDv is not a threat to humans or food safety. For more information on Neogen’s disinfectants that are effective against PEDv, click here.

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