North America pork producers are enjoying a reprieve from the maelstrom of Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea virus outbreaks of a year ago. Whether or not it reappears at some point in the future with the same virulence remains to be seen. In the meantime, other countries are experiencing outbreaks, adding to the difficulty of controlling this troublesome virus.
Here is an overview of PEDv events or research in other countries:
Ukraine: Since the beginning of 2014, Ukraine has seen multiple cases of PEDv in livestock, though government officials did not confirmed its presence until December of last year. The political and social situation has caused the authorities to pay attention and they anticipate a reduction in that country's pork production during 2014 and 2015. Bordering countries, including Poland, Slovakia, Hungary and Romania are trying to keep the disease from entering. While Ukraine is not a major producer or exporter of pork products, experts believe a PED virus outbreak in several large sow farms in Ukraine could lead to the deaths of 30 to 35 million pigs in Europe, and have a major impact on global pig production numbers.
Europe: The European Commission has extended health controls on imports of live pigs from the USA and Canada until October 31, 2015 because of concerns about continued cases of PEDv. Britain's National Pig Association is doing all it can to inform producers there of good biosecurity practices and says "All pig-keepers must consider themselves personally responsible for ensuring it does not get onto their own farm. Producers should pay special attention to vehicle biosecurity. In particular no pig lorry should be allowed onto any pig farm unless it has previously been thoroughly cleaned and disinfected."
Japan: In mid-December 2014, PEDv was confirmed on nine farms in the Miyazaki prefecture, Higashimorokata District, Miyazaki Aya Kitamata. In addition, re-occurrence has been confirmed in the same prefecture in Nichinan Haginomine. Pig officials in the prefecture are recommending "vehicle disinfection during farm entry and exit; and disinfection at the time of entry and exit of each barn, such as exchange of work clothes and boots," as prevention measures. Last week, three more farms in Oide Miyakonojo Takagi-cho, were confirmed positive for PEDv. In addition, the virus has expanded in the north of the province of Akita, with three farms confirmed as having the disease. On December 31, 2014, a new case of PEDv was confirmed on two pig farms in Katori, Chiba prefecture.
Mexico: The U.S. Meat Export Federation notes that obtaining reliable information regarding PEDv in Mexico is difficult, as it is not a reportable disease and regulatory agencies have released few details about the impact of the disease on domestic pork production. Rabobank estimated that Mexico's hog slaughter and pork production would decline 7.5 percent and 9.7 percent, respectively, in 2014, with a further decline in production expected this year. There is growing concern about rising pork prices in Mexico, not only due to the impact of the PEDv on local production but also the possibility of less U.S. pork being available for the Mexican market. In mid-December, the Mexican Ministry of Economy announced the establishment of a tariff quota for imports of pork to stabilize the market and avoid a shortage in the supply, noting that prices have risen to record highs." The government recognizes that domestic production is insufficient to meet the needs of domestic consumption.
South Korea: The Korea Rural Economic Institute (KREI), reported early last year that 19 percent of South Korea's hog farms surveyed had a PEDv outbreak, reducing piglet production at those farms by nearly 25 percent. Therefore, KREI estimated that 5.8 to 7 percent of piglets were lost nationwide due to PEDv in 2014. However, KREI noted that the impact of PEDv would be less than some analysts feared, which was expected to ease pressure on the market and alleviate processors" concerns about a possible shortage.
Peru: Late last year, the head of the Regional Directorate of Health, John Canepa Yzaga, recommended that people not eat pork because of the presence of Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea virus. He noted the disease was being monitored by the National Agricultural Health Service in Peru (SENASA). The virus was identified on farms in Lima and was first recorded in the sector of Copare.
Canada: Bruce Cochrane with Farmscape in Canada reported recently on a pilot study being conducted by the University of Manitoba and the Prairie Agricultural Machinery Institute. The study is designed to assess the survivability of the virus in manure storage lagoons. Dr. Ehsan Khafipour, an assistant professor of gastrointestinal microbiology with the University of Manitoba, found PEDv in 99.5 percent of the samples he collected from the lagoons. Now, the goal is to determine how infective the stored manure can be. According to Dr. Khafipour, the survivability data is currently available and infectivity data is expected to be available in March, at which point additional samples will be collected from the manure lagoons to assess survivability of the virus over the Canadian winter.