While the U.S. outbreak Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea Virus is only weeks old, the outbreak is widespread and serious and was a topic of a special luncheon meeting at the World Pork Expo in Des Moines, Iowa June 6.

Diagnostic labs in of Iowa State University and Minnesota State University have tested 113 sites as positive for PEDV from 11 states, according to Dr. Greg Stevenson, of Iowa States Diagnostic Veterinary Lab. The majority of the positive sites were in Iowa.

This is a new virus to Canada and the United States so it is expected that there is no immunity in North American swine herds. PED has been found in swine herds in Europe and Asia starting in the early 1980s and is endemic in some East Asian Countries. This disease is also not a food safety concern and all pork products remain safe for consumption.

The strain of PED virus found in the United States is similar to the Asian strain which remains highly contagious. Mortality in piglets is up to 80 percent due to dehydration.


While progress is being made identifying the scope of the outbreak, speakers told the group that research is also focused on how the disease came to the United States, which probably occurred in April.

Dr. Lisa Ferguson, deputy director for science & technology at the US Department of Agriculture - Animal & Plant Health Inspection Service said feed is being tested to figure out whether that could have been the initial source of contamination. She said they are making progress in finding the original source of contamination, but reminded the audience this epidemic is only weeks old, so it is very early to have conclusive answers.

The group was told that strict biosecurity is the best protection for swine herds that have yet to be infected. At present there is no vaccine for the disease, although vaccines that could lessen the impact of the disease are in development.