USDA Now Requires PED Reporting

OMAHA (DTN) — U.S. hog producers will now be required to report incidents of both the porcine epidemic diarrhea virus and swine delta coronavirus to the government, U.S. Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack announced Friday. Until now, reporting of the diseases was only voluntary.

In addition to being required to report the PED and SDC viruses, producers also will be required to track movements of pigs, vehicles and other equipment leaving affected premises, though movements will still be allowed, according to a USDA news release.

Since it was first confirmed in the U.S. last year, PED has spread to nearly 30 states and killed millions of piglets. The disease was also confirmed in four provinces in Canada. While there have been far fewer reported cases of the swine delta coronavirus (SDCV), which is similar to PED and transmissible gastroenteritis, researchers are closely monitoring that disease as well.

USDA’s latest action is aimed at slowing the spread of the disease while maintaining movement of pigs in the U.S., Vilsack stated in Friday’s news release. He said USDA is instituting the new requirement even though PED is not a reportable disease under international standards.

"USDA has been working closely with the pork industry and our state and federal partners to solve this problem," Vilsack stated in the release. "Together, we have established testing protocols, sequenced the virus and are investigating how the virus is transmitted. 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."

Vilsack said USDA is also working with other 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, Vilsack said 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.

USDA is already providing assistance to researchers looking into PED, with the Agricultural Research Service 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, according to the USDA news release.

For a question-and-answer sheet on USDA’s new reporting requirement, visit: http://www.aphis.usda.gov/…

For a summary of USDA actions to date, additional information is available here: http://www.usda.gov/…

In Canada, see http://bit.ly/… for Q and A from the Canadian Food Inspection Agency.

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(AG/ES)