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Porcine Epidemic Diarrhoea (PED)

(546) This is an acute rapidly spreading diarrhoea similar to transmissible gastro-enteritis (TGE) but less severe. It is caused by a member of the corona virus group but is distinct from that of the TGE virus.

Should you be concerned about PED?

PED is thought to be widespread throughout most regions of Western and Central Europe except Denmark, Sweden, Ireland and possibly Austria. If you are a pig farmer in Denmark, Sweden, Ireland or Austria be aware of PED because it could get into your country and put the herd at risk.

If you are a pig farmer in the rest of Western or Central Europe, your herd is at risk. It has also been reported in China and Taiwan. Its not known whether it exists in other countries of SE Asia. If you are involved with pigs in China and Taiwan or possibly other countries of SE Asia then you might encounter it.

It has not been reported in North, Central or South America, Australia or New Zealand. If you live in any of these do not worry about it unless a specific alarm is raised, which seems most unlikely.

Importance of PED

PED is not a very important disease economically. Mortality is low, clinical disease lasts about a week or so and then disappears spontaneously and the majority of affected pigs recover fully.

It is important because it can be mistaken for TGE, which it is not.

Clinical signs

There are two strains of the PED virus. Type 1 causes diarrhoea in growing pigs and adults but not in sucking pigs. Type 2 causes diarrhoea in all age groups.

When the virus enters a susceptible herd it spreads fairly rapidly though it. The diarrhoea is watery and tends to squirt out like a hose-pipe but it has no blood in it. Very few piglets die. Each affected pig scours for about 3-5 days and then stops spontaneously. Depending on the size of the herd the clinical disease disappears in 1-2 weeks and the herd develops a strong immunity. The disease is unlikely to recur in less than two years and usually much longer.


The clinical signs often give a strong indication. Confirmation and differentiation from TGE has to be done in a laboratory. Submit freshly dead piglets and blood samples from sows taken at the beginning of the outbreak and 10 days later.

Very few piglets usually die so there are not many to examine. The stomach and gut contain watery and gassy fluids.


  • Antibiotics have little effect. Supportive measures such as the provision of electrolyte solutions and warmth are helpful with piglets and weaners. It is sensible to try to spread infected faeces from scouring pigs around the whole herd to develop a rapid immunity.
Management control and prevention
  • Vaccination - Vaccines are not available and would probably not be cost-effective.
  • National control programmes - Individual countries such as Ireland, and Denmark would not admit sero-positive pigs.
  • On-farm eradication - The virus seems to disappear from the herd spontaneously. If your herd is selling breeding stock it should stop doing so for about six weeks and then it may start selling again. You may want to put some pigs from a susceptible herd in first to act as sentinels but, unlike TGE, this is rarely necessary.
  • On-Farm precautions - Its not known whether this virus is carried by birds (like TGE). It does not seem to be windborne. Nevertheless it is difficult to keep it out . Refer to the final section of this chapter.

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