USDA: Required Reporting of PEDv Cases to Slow Disease Spread

08:59AM Apr 18, 2014
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Wisconsin issues warning against intentional PEDv infection

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The following news updates are important to the U.S. hog industry...

USDA: Required Reporting of PEDv Cases to Slow Disease Spread

USDA Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today in St. Paul, Minnesota, announced that in an effort to further enhance the biosecurity and health of the US swine herd while maintaining movement of pigs in the US, USDA will require reporting of Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea Virus (PEDv) and Swine Delta Coronavirus in order to slow the spread of this disease across the United States.

USDA said it is taking this latest action due to the "devastating effect on swine health" since it was first confirmed in the country last year even though PEDv it is not a reportable disease under international standards. PEDv only affects pigs and does not pose a risk to people and is not a food safety concern.

"USDA has been working closely with the pork industry and our state and federal partners to solve this problem. Together, we have established testing protocols, sequenced the virus and are investigating how the virus is transmitted," said Vilsack. "Today's actions will help identify gaps in biosecurity and help us as we work together to stop the spread of these diseases and the damage caused to producers, industry and ultimately consumers."

Besides requiring reporting of the PED virus, USDA said it will also require tracking movements of pigs, vehicles, and other equipment leaving affected premises; however, movements would still be allowed. USDA is also working with industry partners to increase assistance to producers who have experienced PED virus outbreaks in other critical areas such as disease surveillance, herd monitoring and epidemiological and technical support.

As part of USDA's coordinated response, USDA's Farm Loan Programs is working with producers to provide credit options, including restructuring loans, similar to how the Farm Service Agency successfully worked with livestock producers affected by the blizzard in South Dakota. In the case of guaranteed loans, USDA is encouraging guaranteed lenders to use all the flexibility available under existing guarantees, and to use new guarantees where appropriate to continue financing their regular customers.

USDA is already providing assistance to researchers looking into this disease, with the Agricultural Research Service (ARS) working with the National Animal Disease Center in Ames, Iowa to make models of the disease transmission and testing feedstuffs. This modeling work is contributing to some experimental vaccines to treat animals with the disease. ARS also has a representative serving as a member of the Swine Health Board. USDA also provides competitive grant funding through the Agriculture and Food Research Initiative program and anticipates some applications on PEDv research will be submitted soon. In addition, USDA provides formula funds to states and universities through the Hatch Act and National Animal Health Disease Section 1433 for research activities surrounding this disease.

In conjunction with the pork industry, state and federal partners, USDA is working to develop appropriate responses to the PEDv and Swine Delta Coronavirus. A question-and-answer sheet on today's reporting requirement is available on the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service website here: (PDF, 31KB). For a summary of USDA actions to date, additional information is available here: (PDF, 150KB).

Iowa State University veterinarian Rodney Baker said the reporting requirement may be too little too late. "Reporting itself doesn’t help us with the disease at all, unless there’s some action taken through the reporting process that prevents the spread of the disease," Baker said, adding it is not yet clear whether the department will take further action. And, he said, scientists still do not understand all the ways the virus can spread. But he said the reporting requirement may improve the accuracy of loss estimates, which until now relied on voluntary reporting.


USDA now requires mandatory reporting for two strains of PEDv and the swine delta coronavirus. All three are believed to have come from Asia. Baker said required reporting does increase the paper trail as hogs are moved throughout the country and could lead to a more accurate number of losses from the diseases. "It may be too little too late but we certainly need to get this in place, knowing that these diseases managed to get through our border biosecurity tells us that there’s a lot of other ones out there that could affect trade," according to Baker.


Baker noted that US pork producers earn 20 to 25 percent of their income from the export market. Since PEDv and delta coronavirus do not threaten the food supply, Baker thinks USDA may have been reluctant to require reporting. For now, the reporting change does not call for restrictions on movement or trade.

Comments: Some in the pork industry said they were surprised the USDA had not acted sooner in requiring disease tracking. The National Pork Producers Council said it would work quickly to help USDA develop the new tracking and reporting program. As of April 12, about 5,800 separate cases of the virus have been reported to the National Animal Health Laboratory Network, which tracks the disease. Each case may represent anywhere from one infected animal on a farm to thousands across a producer's operations. The US has about 68,300 hog farms, according to federal data.

Wisconsin Issues Warning Against Intentional PEDv Infection

Source: Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection

Biosecurity is the best way to prevent spread of porcine epidemic diarrhea virus (PEDv) advises Paul McGraw, DVM, Wisconsin State Veterinarian. This advice comes after the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP) received information that some swine producers are considering transporting virus-laden material from premises with diseased pigs in an effort to build the immunity of their own herds against the disease.

McGraw said that not only is the idea a bad one because it could put other pigs throughout the state at risk, but knowingly infecting your own animals with a disease may also result in liability and possible prosecution.

Animal health officials were notified that some swine producers are considering this strategy in an effort to prevent their pigs from getting sick later in the year. Sources say that these producers want to transport material from an infected property to their own, which may violate Wisconsin law.

The state vet noted that intentional infection of a disease free herd is not the answer to the PEDv problem; heightened biosecurity is still the best strategy for preventing infection.


NOTE: This column is copyrighted material, therefore reproduction or retransmission is prohibited under U.S. copyright laws.