PEDV is still part of our vocabulary on this farm. While it has been relatively dormant during these summer months, the threat is still there and we are still in learning mode for this winter.
Rush County and Shelby County Extension Services recently held an informative clinic providing the latest information available. Bret Marsh, state veterinarian, Brian Richert, Purdue University Extension animal scientist and Rob Jackman, a vet near Milroy, were on hand to provide information and answer producer's questions.
The specialists discussed several PEDV issues during the meeting, but there were three key takeaways:
1. When Purdue University Swine contracted PEDV, they found that by collecting infected piglets' feces and combining with water they were able to make a nasal spray to introduce the virus into the herd to promote immunity. Feces from infected swine has several times the amount of the virus as the intestine does; therefore, they were able to do this method in place of feedback where they remove intestines from dead animals and make a slurry.
2. Bio-security is still important but the virus is still difficult to prevent. According to Marsh, the farms with the strictest bio-security (like shower-in, shower-out facilities), while expected to be the safest from PEDV, are breaking. Less bio-secure farms are not, which is opposite of what was expected. Larger farms have a lot more foot traffic as well as truck and other vehicle traffic. Mice do not carry the virus, however it is possible, and even likely, that certain birds do carry it. Research continues in that area.
3. There are still a lot of questions. Marsh of the Indiana State Board of Animal Health says that the goal is to eradicate this virus but currently the only vaccine available cannot be given to naive herds (never before exposed). The United States has yet to determine how herds were exposed, and other than luck, how we are able so far to keep it off our farms. Some herds are also breaking with other viruses after an outbreak of PEDV suggesting concern that the herd's immune system is compromised and weak, which will affect production even after PEDV is cleaned up.
So while things have quieted down for the summer, with warmer temperatures slowing the spread of the virus, this winter is entirely unpredictable.