Threat of PED to the UK Pig Sector

UK - Highly-virulent porcine epidemic diarrhoea virus (PEDv) has spread to Europe, increasing the risk of spread to Britain, while African swine fever has also been reported in Ukraine this year.
calendar icon 19 December 2014
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There have been at least three outbreaks of PEDv on pig farms in Ukraine, although government authorities have yet to acknowledge the source is Chinese-American PEDv, according to the UK's National Pig Association.

Dr John Carr, who has advised the producers concerned, struggled to get the disease typed in the region, but has now had the strain sequenced in Britain.

Having seen PEDv in its various guises around the world over the past 20 years, he knew, in any case, that what he saw in Ukraine was much more like Chinese-American PEDv than its milder European counterpart.

The high mortality he observed on the Ukraine units shocked him profoundly, with thousands of three-and-four-day-old piglets vomiting themselves to death.

With his help the outbreaks were brought under control – but they throw into sharp relief the importance of irreproachable transport hygiene on British pig units.

A report by the United States agriculture department in October quotes the Ukranian Pig Breeders Association as saying PEDv – which is not notifiable in the Ukraine – has been seen on a number of pig farms in the country.


Recently PEDv outbreaks have been reported in Italy and Germany, and these have DNA/RNA similarities with PEDv-AM but are not thought to be the American strain.

It is possible any European Union pigs that are seropositive for PEDv-EU will have a measure of protection against PEDv-AM but further studies are needed.

But some European Union countries may not have any PEDv-EU seropositive pigs and in any case, it is not known what level of immunity is required in individual animals or at herd or regional levels to achieve protective immunity from PEDv-AM.

Only a small number of outbreaks of PED in the European Union have been recorded, therefore any estimation of the susceptibility of the European pig population to PEDv-AM carries a high uncertainty.

African Swine Fever

Ukraine reported another outbreak of African swine fever. The disease was found in one dead wild boar in a group of 92, near the Russian border.

Ukraine reported its first case of the disease in January, in a dead wild boar, again near the Russian border. Then in August, it reported African swine fever in two dead domestic pigs on a holding with 41 domestic pigs, and imposed movement restrictions.

Some of Ukraine's largest pig producers have asked for an inspection by European Union veterinary specialists. They are seeking approval to export pork to the European Union next year.

Further Reading

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Charlotte Rowney

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