U.S. pig virus spreads, pork groups fund investigative efforts
DES MOINES, June 5
DES MOINES, June 5 (Reuters) - The pig virus that was found this spring for the first time ever in U.S. hog herds has the U.S. pork industry researching how it is transmitted, the number of herds that have been infected and how to fight it, industry veterinarians said on Wednesday.
Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea Virus (PEDV) has now been detected at 103 sites in 11 states, Tom Burkgren executive director of the American Association of Swine Veterinarians told a gathering of hog producers on Wednesday at the World Pork Expo in Des Moines, Iowa.
"It's serious, but not like foot-and-mouth disease or African Swine Fever. We're only three weeks into this and don't want to leave any stone unturned," Burkgren said.
Burkgren and his colleagues continue to monitor farms affected by the virus. They are also looking into how to minimize the spread of the disease and whether it can be contained or eradicated.
On Wednesday the National Pork Board and the Iowa Pork Producers Association approved $527,000 to find answers to the new disease and head off potential threat to the industry.
PADV, a swine-only disease, poses no threat to humans or other animals and pork from infected pigs is safe for human consumption.
It is similar to transmissible gastroenteritis (TGE) virus, which is widespread in many countries and is not a trade- restricting disease.
Liz Wagstrom, National Pork Producers Council chief veterinarian, said it appears the number of confirmed cases has been decreasing each week, possibly peaking last week.
"It's fewer cases but more states. So it's continuing to spread," she said.
With respect to mortality linked to PEDV, some farms lost 80 to 90 percent of the pigs born over a week's time, said Wagstrom.
The total number of hogs and pigs lost to the virus is not available at this time, she said.
"We really don't know how many individual animals. I wouldn't even begin to try to put a number on it," she said. (Editing by Bob Burgdorfer)