High-risk viruses survive in feed, threaten US pork

An investigation initiated by the Pipestone System and Scott Dee, DVM, continues to uncover more information about the link between feed ingredients and foreign pathogen movement.
calendar icon 18 May 2018
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In 2014, Dee discovered a porcine epidemic diarrhoea virus (PEDV) causing an outbreak in Indiana was the same virus found in China. The investigation that followed proved PEDV can survive for several months in some feed ingredients to then infect pigs through natural feeding.

These findings spawned another research project that found several other high-risk viruses also survive in various feed ingredients to potentially infect pigs in other countries, according to Dee. These viruses include African Swine Fever, Seneca Valley virus (a relative of foot-and-mouth disease) and porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome (PRRS).

The group’s next project will determine the high-risk combinations of virus and feed ingredients that pose the greatest threat to hog populations. For example, Dee said PRRS could live on a transatlantic trip if it was in soybean meal or distillers’ dried grain solubles.

“I don’t think there are too many borders for these diseases,” Dee admitted. “We are looking at mitigation strategies and what could be added to feed to neutralise the viruses.”

The Swine Health Information Center has been instrumental in helping set up and fund the research.

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