Although the number of new PEDv infections has greatly decreased in recent months, PEDv is still a threat to the U.S. pork industry, and cooler months raise the potential for new cases to emerge.
“In 2013, PEDv was a severe epidemic on a large number of the country’s sow farms and in 2014, we saw more breakouts on finishing sites,” said Dr. Rick Swalla, senior veterinarian for Zoetis, who supported veterinary practices and production systems in the Midwest to help manage PEDv outbreaks. “So far this year, the number of outbreaks has been lower, but as the weather does start to get colder there is a greater risk of the virus becoming epidemic again so farmers have to stay vigilant with their biosecurity efforts.”
Improved biosecurity, and herd immunity from exposure and vaccination, have helped to reduce new outbreaks in 2014. However, there is potential for more PEDv outbreaks this winter, primarily due to the introduction of naive gilts into the sow herd.
“There are two types of biosecurity with the first being external biosecurity, which keeps PEDv out of our system,” Swalla said. “Equally as important is internal biosecurity to stop the virus from moving within our system as well.”
Another biosecurity phase a pork operation must have in place is focused on transportation, making sure that the trucks and trailers that deliver pigs to the farm and take them to market are clean, disinfected and dry before they return to the farm.
Vaccination protocols should also be updated to keep a farm PEDv free.
“The PEDv vaccination is another tool to help manage the immunity side of the PEDv formula,” Swalla said. “If you have a farm that has a PEDv outbreak and you expose all of the animals on the farm, then you can come in with a vaccine to homogenize the immunity in that farm and that will help to protect the animals from showing any clinical signs.”
An effective biosecurity plan is not a one size fits all blueprint. Taking the time to work with a veterinarian is paramount in finding the right protocols for each specific site.