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Mysterious Swine Disease Continues to Spread in Indiana

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Bret Marsh
Bret Marsh

A new swine virus is spreading rapidly across the US, and Indiana officials are trying to track its spread here in the Hoosier State.  Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea (PED) was first discovered in Indiana in May and has since spread to 9 counties.  State Veterinarian Dr. Bret Marsh says state officials are keeping a close watch on virus, “It is not a regulated disease, which means we are not issuing quarantines or restricting movement but we are tracking this virus very closely.”  BOAH reports that the disease has been confirmed in herds located in Decatur, Rush, Huntington, Miami, Howard, White, Carroll, Clinton, and Montgomery have been

 

So far, the virus’ origin remains a mystery and how it is spread is also baffling pork producers and veterinarians, “We have had cases from Ohio to Colorado, so it covers such a wide geographic area, and among herds that are not tied genetically, so there has been no movement between the farms infected.”  He said there is still very little known about how the virus is moving. PEDV may appear clinically to be the same as transmissible gastroenteritis (TGE) virus with acute diarrhea. Producers will need to work with their herd veterinarian with if any TGE-like symptoms appear .  Data provided by veterinary diagnostic laboratories to the National Animal Health Laboratory Network (NAHLN) suggests that there are 40-50 new cases of PED virus diagnosed each week, with the disease now reported in 14 states.

 

Dr. Marsh said he is quite concerned whether the spreading of hog manure on fields this fall will increase the likelihood that the virus will spread to new areas in Indiana.  Researchers are watching carefully to see how the disease handles cold winter weather. If there is any good news here, it is that the threat is only to hogs not humans, “This is a disease that impacts swine so there is no public health threat here either from exposure from the pigs, the manure, or the pork.

 

Extensive research is being conducted to learn more about the virus, but Dr. Marsh told HAT that there are not a lot of answers so far, “There does not seem to be a commonality to any genetic line, to a particular breed of swine. It seems to strike young pigs in furrowing houses more but we have also had reports of the virus in finishing barns.”  Taking good biosecurity precautions is about the only advice Dr. Marsh can give to Hoosier Pork producers.

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