An emerging porcine virus capable of rapid transmission and high mortality rates has U.S. swine experts scrambling to determine both the origin of the virus and the most effective way to stop it in its tracks.
The virus, known as the Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea Virus (PEDV), has never been seen in the United States before, but has been seen in parts of Europe and Asia. Reuters reported earlier this week that recent PEDV outbreaks in China claimed more than 1 million piglets. Pigs infected with PEDV will suffer from extreme diarrhea, vomiting and dehydration.
Fortunately, PEDV poses no risk to humans or other animals, and pork or meat products from infected pigs is still safe for people to eat. But the sudden emergence of the virus in five states including Colorado, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa and Minnesota, has raised new questions about our ability to monitor emerging animal diseases and potential threats to the U.S. food supply. There is still no definitive answer on how the virus entered the United States.
To combat the emerging virus, University of Minnesota experts from the CVM’s Veterinary Diagnostic Lab are taking a leadership role in helping provide the testing and diagnostic analysis that will allow pork producers, swine farmers and veterinarians to test their herds. Experts from universities in Iowa, South Dakota, and Kansas are also dedicating resources to stopping the PEDV outbreak.