The spread of porcine epidemic diarrhea virus (PEDV) in the United States appears to have slowed since it was first detected in April. However, leaders within the U.S. pork industry stress the need to remain vigilant as the pig disease could become more formidable in the fall of 2013.
According to August 14 figures from the National Animal Health Laboratory Network, 461 pigs tested positive for PEDV in 16 states, but the average number of weekly confirmed PEDV cases has decreased since May and June.
Butch Baker, interim director of the Iowa Pork Industry Center, said he believes the spread of PEDV has slowed down partly because of industry-wide vigilance to contain the disease. But he also commented that weather patterns play a part. Just as weather conditions can help with the containment of the PEDV, they can also contribute to its proliferation.
"It's been very dry in the summer, and these viruses like wet, cold and overcast weather," said Baker. "We don't know what's going to happen in the fall. There may be a big upsurge in PEDV cases. Everybody's kind of holding their breath, but we're suspecting there probably will be."
If a new surge of cases emerges in the fall of 2013, the spread of PEDV can still be slowed due to continued biocontainment measures, such washing trucks before moving from one site to another. Its spread can also be prevented through the sharing of information, which the U.S. pork industry has already done well since the virus was first found in the US.
"We were presented with an industry issue, and the industry has come together, shared information and talked to one another," said Roy Lee Lindsey Jr., executive director of the Oklahoma Pork Council. "These pig farmers are competing with each other, trying to sell pork and pigs, and they normally don't like to share information with their competitors. But in this scenario, veterinarians between the different companies have sat down and traded everything they know."