Study: PEDv can be spread through feed

Cute pigA recently published study concludes that the porcine epidemic diarrhea virus (PEDv) can be spread through contaminated animal feed.

The study’s authors state that contaminated animal feed was suspected as the cause of PEDv outbreaks on two farms in Minnesota and one in Iowa. All three farms received an “emergency” shipment of feed in January 2014, and subsequently animals on each of the farms displayed symptoms consistent with a diagnosis of PEDv. On each farm, only animals that consumed feed from the emergency shipment contacted PEDv. reports: “This study helped validate that the virus was alive in the feed,” said Scott Dee, director of research for Pipestone Veterinary Clinic in Minnesota and lead author of the study, in an interview. “That had never been done before.”

Earlier studies have shown that PEDv can be transmitted from pig to pig through contact with contaminated manure, and from farm to farm on trucks that transport contaminated manure.

According to the article, the study did not determine how the feed became infected with PEDv. The feed ingredients may have been contaminated, or the feed may have been contaminated in other ways, such as during transportation. The feed did not contain pig blood products suspected of transmitting the disease.

The study can be found here.

PEDv can devastate a population of nursing pigs, with mortality approaching 100%, and can significantly impact the performance of adult pigs. It is estimated that seven million piglets have been lost to the virus in the U.S. in the past year. The virus is not transmissible to humans and does not affect food safety. However, it is estimated the disease will cut pork production as much as 7%.

PEDv was first reported in the United Kingdom in 1971, and has since been found in the several other countries in Europe and Asia. The first confirmed case of PEDv in Canada was reported in January 2014. Pigs infected with PEDv, which is transmitted through a fecal-oral route or via fomites in the pigs’ environment (e.g., boots, brushes, buckets, etc.), may show varying symptoms, including diarrhea, vomiting and dehydration. Recovery, when possible, can take a week to 10 days.

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