A virus new to the United States is proving to be fatal to pig populations according to West Virginia University Extension Service’s veterinarian. Experts are urging farmers to be on the lookout for symptoms of the porcine epidemic diarrhea virus, also known as PEDV, in their pigs.
PEDV results in pigs suffering from diarrhea, vomiting and high death rates – proving particularly harmful to piglets that have not been weaned. It transmits only to other pigs and does not infect humans or other livestock.
The virus poses no risk to food safety. However, food prices may be affected if the supply for pig products like ham and bacon is limited due to high death rates from the virus.
The virus spreads when pigs make oral contact with infected feces. Even trace amounts of feces from boots or truck beds could result in an outbreak of PEDV.
“Farmers have to be cautious that they aren’t cross contaminating areas by walking through potentially infected materials, like manure, and then entering into the area where their pigs are kept,” WVU Extension Service Veterinarian Darin Matlick warns.
Matlick says farmers should be particularly cautious in the upcoming fairs and festivals season.
“Many of the fairs and festivals organizers are putting in new procedures to help limit the risk for contamination,” he explains.
These procedures may include eliminating a central weigh-in location, avoiding animal co-mingling or keeping the pigs on the trailers in which they arrive.
Pigs exposed to PEDV will begin showing symptoms within 24 hours. The infected animals are then contagious to other pigs for three to four weeks.
Farmers should care for infected pigs by keeping the animals hydrated and providing them with clean, draft-free environments. High quality drinking water with electrolytes may be beneficial.
The virus can be diagnosed by most veterinarians by sending a pig intestine sample to a pathology laboratory, or by checking the feces for a polymerase chain reaction.
Connecting the people of West Virginia to the University’s resources and programs is the primary goal of WVU Extension Service and its 55 offices throughout the state. Local experts, like WVU Extension’s agents and specialists, work to help improve the lifestyles and well-being of youths, workforces, communities, farms and businesses through trusted research in the counties in which they serve.
To learn more about WVU Extension programs, visit http://www.ext.wvu.edu/, or contact your local office of the WVU Extension Service.
CONTACT: Cassie Waugh, WVU Extension Service
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