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Weekly Overview - Counting the Cost of PED

19 August 2013

ANALYSIS - The dark cloud of Porcine Epidemic Diarrhoea (PED) continues to threaten the US pig industry, and Canada is making preparations in case the virus crosses its border. Recent research in a number of countries is helping to shed light on other significant pig diseases to improve methods of control.

Porcine Epidemic Diarrhoea (PED) continues to spread across the US although, at 27, fewer new positive diagnoses were reported in the most recent report than in previous weeks. The number of swine accessions and diagnostic case submissions testing positive to PED virus (PEDv) stood at 461. Wisconsin has reported its first PEDv-positive result, taking the total number of states affected to 17.

Based on the latest figures, industry analysts, Steve Meyer and Len Steiner, have revised their latest estimate for the expected losses from PED. Losses are now more likely to run for three or four weeks - rather than the previous estimate of five weeks - but mortalities could still be in the region of 60,000 to 100,000, they say, and they are likely to hit the market from mid-December.

They add that the next USDA survey of hogs and pigs numbers and the September 'Hogs and Pigs' Report, due in the coming weeks, are likely to reflect the impacts of PED in the estimates of the June-August pig crop, the under-50 pound pig inventory and the average number of pigs saved per litter, which was at a record high in the March-May quarter at 10.31.

The National Pork Board has announced it has committed a total of $800,000 toward research, education and coordination of efforts to understand better PEDv with the goal to contain and eliminate the virus from the US.

The manager of the Canadian Swine Health Intelligence Network's management team says pig health professionals there are prepared to respond in the event a PED outbreak spreads to Canada from the US.

Turning to other diseases, Georgia has become the 37th member of the European Commission for the control of Foot-and-Mouth Disease (EuFMD).

Japanese researchers have reported their study of the risk factors for the transmission of FMD during the 2010 outbreak there in cattle and pigs.

In Spain, the Centre for Research in Animal Health (CReSA) has evidence to suggest that systemic infections by porcine circovirus type 2 (PCV2) contribute greatly to porcine respiratory complex.

Using modelling, researchers in the US found that the installation of air filters to pig houses to keep out the porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome (PRRS) virus could result in almost 6,000 more pigs being produced from a 3,000-sow herd. This additional output alone led them to calculate a pay-back period of around five to seven years for the investment.

Scientists at the University of East Anglia in the UK have identified a rapid response, which could help halt infectious diseases such as swine flu before they become established. Studying the H5N1 avian flu virus in Viet Nam, the team examined the application of the Hazard Analysis of Critical Control Points (HACCP) system to this and other emerging disease outbreaks.

Jackie Linden

Jackie Linden

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