Vaccine to Control Pig Virus
I rarely write about pigs. But those in the farming world are aware of the porcine epidemic diarrhea virus (PEDv). This virulent disease has been killing pigs across the county.
PEDv was first diagnosed in the United States in April, 2013. Since then, it has spread to 30 states and is responsible for more than seven million deaths in piglets. There are approximately 5.85 million sows and gilts in the U.S; however, the exact number of those infected is not known. The USDA designated PEDv a reportable disease in June, and it continues to be a serious threat to U.S. pig farms with an estimated 30 percent of farms reporting a recurrence of the disease within a year after an initial outbreak. Although PEDv is a significant health threat to young piglets, it poses no risk to food safety or to human health.
Zoetis Inc. announced that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has granted a conditional license for a vaccine to help fight porcine epidemic diarrhea virus (PEDv). The two-dose inactivated vaccine, licensed for use in healthy pregnant female pigs (sows and gilts), is designed to help them develop antibodies which can be transmitted to their newborn piglets. Zoetis anticipates the vaccine will be available to veterinarians and pig farmers in September.
The vaccine is given as a 2 mL intramuscular (IM) injection to sows or gilts prior to farrowing (giving birth). Two doses given three weeks apart are recommended, with the second dose given two weeks pre-farrowing. Previously vaccinated sows should receive a single dose given two weeks before farrowing. On average, female pigs farrow twice each year.
In order to receive the conditional license, the vaccine was shown to be safe in a field safety study, and a reasonable expectation of efficacy was demonstrated. Zoetis is working to complete the studies necessary to obtain full licensure in the U.S.
Zoetis continues work with Iowa State University on a second vaccine approach to help control PEDv. The results from these vaccine research programs could have applicability in countries outside the U.S. where PEDv has been identified and is threatening swine herds and the livelihoods of farmers who raise and care for them.
In the meantime, ongoing efforts to slow the spread of PEDv continue to focus on improving animal husbandry and hygiene measures. From the farm to transport trucks, stepped-up efforts include additional sanitation, better control of access points and review of employee protocols. All of these steps have been demonstrated to help mitigate the risk of the virus entering a farm.
Here is the National Pork Board Informational Statement
The USDA has confirmed that porcine epidemic diarrhea virus (PEDV) has been identified in the United States for the first time through testing at the National Veterinary Services Laboratory. This is not a new virus, nor is it a regulatory/reportable disease. Since PEDV is widespread in many countries, it is not a trade-restricting disease, but rather a production-related disease. PEDV may appear clinically to be the same as transmissible gastroenteritis (TGE) virus with acute diarrhea. Producers will need to work with their herd veterinarian with if any TGE-like symptoms appear and as always, maintain strict biosecurity protocols.
Porcine epidemic diarrhea virus (PEDV) is a virus similar to transmissible gastroenteritis (TGE), another disease only affecting pigs. It is not zoonotic, so therefore it poses no risk to other animals or humans. Also, it poses no risk to food safety.
PEDV has been identified in the United States in a small number of herds. The virus is not a new virus as it was first recognized in England in 1971. Since then, the disease has been identified in a number of European countries, and more recently in China, Korea and Japan.
USDA, State Animal Health Officials, the American Association of Swine Veterinarians and veterinarians at the National Pork Board are actively monitoring this disease and will make recommendations to producers as necessary.
PEDV is transmitted via the fecal-oral route and may appear to be the same as transmissible gastroenteritis (TGE) virus with acute diarrhea within 12 to 36 hours of onset. Herd veterinarians remain well versed in managing TGE-like diseases.
Laboratory testing is the only way to diagnose PEDV.
As always, producers who see any signs of illness in their pigs should notify their herd veterinarian immediately to address the issue.
PEDV does not affect pork safety. Pork remains completely safe to eat.