North Dakota State University livestock specialists and state animal health officials are urging swine producers to prevent the spread of the porcine epidemic diarrhea (PED) virus to their herds.
"The best line of defense is good biosecurity," says David Newman, the NDSU Extension Service"s swine specialist.
More than 100 cases of PED have been reported in the U.S. Cases have been found in Minnesota and South Dakota, as well as several other states from Pennsylvania to Colorado. It has not been found in North Dakota.
"It only infects pigs, and there are no other known hosts for the virus," Newman says. "It does not affect humans or pork. Pork is safe to eat."
The virus was found in the U.S. for the first time this year. It also has been reported in Hungary, Germany, China, Korea and Japan.
Often the only signs are acute watery diarrhea and vomiting. No vaccine is available for this virus in the U.S.
PED typically is spread through the feces of infected swine or contaminated trailers, equipment, boots, clothing and hands. The way it is spread makes it a particular concern now because a number of states will be holding fairs soon, according to Newman.
He says everyone involved in pig handling, including hog operation employees and owners, and those transporting pigs, need to take steps to avoid spreading the virus.
Newman also strongly encourages those involved in showing pigs to monitor animal health closely and be aware of the high risk that could be posed in the swine industry if at-risk animals are transported. In addition, they should be aware of all state and fair regulations regarding animal health before transporting pigs across state lines.
"Sanitizing and drying or heating trailers is very effective against the PED virus, and several virucidal disinfectants have been demonstrated to inactive the virus," he adds.
PED has symptoms that are very similar to transmissible gastroenteritis, also known as TGE, which is another virus that affects pigs. The only way to determine which virus has affected a pig is through testing at a veterinary diagnostic lab, Newman says.
For more information about PED, contact Newman at (701) 231-7366 or, or state veterinarian Susan Keller at (701) 328-2655 or .