Spread Of Hog Virus Turns Its Focus On Transportation

Hog producers across the country are being encouraged to follow strict biosecurity measures to control the deadly and highly contagious pig virus called porcupine epidemic diarrhea, commonly referred to as PED, and since scientists have determined that fecal-oral transmission is the main, and perhaps only, mode of transmission of the virus, they are stressing safety measures for the trucking industry as transportation vehicles are considered the most likely means of spreading the virus.

Contaminated personnel and equipment can also transmit and introduce PED into a susceptible herd.

The first USDA-confirmed diagnosis of PED in the United States was in Iowa on May 17, but by mid-December there have been more than 1,500 additional confirmed cases in 20 different states.

The virus has been found in Ontario, Canada as well, prompting a group of Ontario hog farmers saying the virus is spread through contact with manure, which can cling to trucks, trailers, clothing and boots.

There is no effective treatment for PED other than following good biosecurity practices. Vaccines do exist in Japan, South Korea and China, but not in Europe or the United States as economic losses have not justified vaccine development. Since PED is not a listed disease for either the World Organization for Animal Health or the USDA, no are no quarantines or movement restrictions currently in place, either internationally or within the United States.

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