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Biosecurity key to avoiding porcine epidemic diarrhea

The chief veterinarian with the National Pork Producers Council is encouraging pork producers to focus on biosecurity to minimize the spread of Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea.

Outbreaks of Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea, a viral disease that causes severe watery diarrhea in pigs, has been reported in several U.S. states and will be discussed this week as part of World Pork Expo in Des Moines.

Dr. Liz Wagstrom, the chief veterinarian with the National Pork Producers Council, says PED was first discovered in the early 1970s in England, there have been some issues with it in Europe but it’s largely recently been an Asian virus and it had never been seen in North America.

What we’ve seen is cases anywhere from about Ohio through Colorado so across the corn belt, as far north as Minnesota, as far south as Oklahoma.

Probably, I’d say, 60 percent or so of those have been nurseries and finishers, the other 35 to 40 percent have been sow farms.

Right now we don’t know what brought it into the country so the American Association of Swine Veterinarians with collaboration from the Pork Board and NPPC as well as working with USDA and one of the Department of Homeland Security centres are doing an epidemiological investigation.

We’re trying to understand what’s different, what supplies have been brought into barns that are PED positive versus those that have not been infected.

We’re early on in the investigation and we’re hoping we find a cause but I don’t know that we will.

Dr. Wagstrom says the key to protecting your farm is biosecurity, which means making sure you know who is on your farm and what supplies you bring in and from where.

She acknowledges PED can be economically devastating for an infected farm but, because it’s found world wide, trade implications are at worst minimal and the disease has no food safety or human health implications.

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