Porcine Epidemic Diarrhoea

Key facts on Porcine Epidemic Diarrhoea (PED) aimed at keeping the disease out of the UK from BPEX.
calendar icon 16 July 2013
clock icon 4 minute read

A major outbreak of PED in the US is causing losses of 50 to 100 per cent of affected piglets. It has been reported on 200 units in 13 states since May. It also appears to be spreading. In China, more than one million piglets have died in an outbreak which started in October 2010. The virus from the outbreak in the US is said to be 99.4 per cent similar to that from China.

The Chinese outbreak, where the virus has been endemic since 1973 and where vaccination has been widely practiced, suggests that were the new strains from China and/or the US to be introduced to the UK there is a significant risk that the impact of the disease could be severe with mortality rates in piglets of up to 50 per cent to 100 per cent.

Key Facts

Keeping the strains of PED virus, linked to losses of 50 to 100 per cent of piglets in the US and China, out of the UK is the number one priority.

PED is a viral disease caused by a coronavirus.

The disease has been present in a mild form in the UK since at least 1971.

In 2010, a variant strain was identified on pig farms in China resulting in decreased efficacy of the PED vaccines routinely used in Chinese sow herds and severe disease (high morbidity and mortality).

Introduction of PED virus into a naïve herd typically results in acute outbreaks of severe diarrhoea, vomiting, high morbidity (often 100 per cent) and variable mortality (some reports as high as 100 per cent in young pigs).

The incubation period is short (two to four days) and natural immunity develops over two to three weeks, resulting in colostral protection for neonatal piglets.

Porcine Epidemic Diarrhoea causes watery diarrhoea, vomiting/regurgitation and anorexia.

Disease is most severe in neonatal pigs as they are more susceptible to dehydration.

Diagnosis is based on laboratory testing.

Treatment is supportive to prevent dehydration - provide free access to high quality drinking water in a clean, dry, warm and draught free environment.

The virus spreads via the faecal-oral route and fomites.

Biosecurity can prevent introduction of virus to farms by animal and human traffic.

Please contact your vet if you see new unusual clinical problems with diarrhoea particularly in piglets.

PEDV is not a listed disease of the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) and is not a notifiable disease in the UK.

It is not a zoonotic disease and there is no risk to other animals or to humans and no risk to food safety.

Further Reading

For more details, please follow link to BPEX web site [click here].

Find out more information on PED on ThePigSite by clicking here.

July 2013

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