University of Minnesota develops first US swine virus surveillance test
Devastating swine virus now detectable within 24 hours of submission
The University of Minnesota College of Veterinary Medicine has developed a second porcine epidemic diarrhea virus (PEDV) diagnostic test to help stem the spread of the virus currently threatening North American swine populations.
The test is the first announced U.S. PEDV swine herd surveillance test and brings PEDV diagnostic testing up to swine industry disease monitoring standards. This past summer, the University of Minnesota's College of Veterinary Medicine developed a PEDV diagnostic test that detected the presence of the virus. The second test announced today can detect evidence of the virus, and is a very precise tool to detect a history of exposure to the virus.
If one pig has been exposed to PEDV, all animals around it are at risk. The new test will allow swine industry to identify which pigs have been exposed to PEDV and act accordingly, even if animals have not shown symptoms of the disease.
Efforts to develop this test began in July 2013, shortly after the first test was developed. The test was developed as part of a dual-pronged approach to controlling the spread of PEDV.
PEDV is characterized by acute diarrhea and vomiting in pigs. PEDV outbreaks can wipe out an average of 50 percent of young swine at newly affected farms. PEDV poses no risk to other animal or human health and no risk to food safety. The virus has been confirmed in 23 U.S. states and Canada so far and continues to spread quickly. Latest figures put pig mortality from PEDV at an estimated three million pigs nationwide. There is no known effective vaccine or treatment for the virus at this time.
To help combat the economic and animal welfare losses caused by PEDV diagnosis and spread, the University of Minnesota is making the newly developed diagnostic enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) herd surveillance test available to the swine industry. The fully-validated test is available immediately at the University of Minnesota Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory. Cost is less than $15 per serum sample submitted.
"We understand PEDV can result in significant health and financial blows, even putting farmers at risk of bankruptcy," said Dr. Michael Murtaugh, an expert in swine disease eradication at the University of Minnesota College of Veterinary Medicine. "We're committed to providing the industry with ongoing science-driven solutions to this major problem. The swine industry has asked for our help and we will continue putting in additional hours until the problem is solved."
When coupled with the University of Minnesota's rapid detection test, which can detect actively infected animals within 24 hours of sample submission, both immediate and long-term herd health can now be monitored in a comparable manner to monitoring for the well-established porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome (PRRS) virus.
"The disease has already affected several hundred farms in Minnesota," said David Preisler, executive director of the Minnesota Pork Board. "This test is very important because accurate, fast diagnostics are the best starting point to give veterinarians the best information to work with their farmer clients. This new test is a great next step in helping farmers manage this disease."
Funding for this research was provided by the Minnesota Rapid Agricultural Response Fund, National Pork Board and Zoetis Inc.