PEDv active in Europe
New strain PEDv (Porcine Epidemic Diarrhoea virus) has recently been a significant problem in both
North America and Asia. Since May 2013, 8 million piglets have died in North America as the virus
can cause a near 100% mortality in pre-weaned piglets on first infection on farm. The virus is highly
virulent, meaning only a small amount of the virus is needed to infect a pig and cause clinical signs.
In mid-April 2014, the first case of PEDv in Europe was suspected in central Ukraine, with 2 further
outbreaks occurring in August. The index case, which was found on the 5,000 sow breeding site of a
3-site production farm, resulted in the loss of 30,000 piglets.
One sow started vomiting and had diarrhoea, which initially spread to her litter before affecting all
pigs within the farrowing house. For welfare reasons, piglets under 10 days of age were
euthanased, whilst older piglets and post-weaned pigs did recover. Of the symptomatic treatments
tried, charcoal was found to be most effective against the scour in piglets. Sows of all parities
showed clinical signs, recovering more quickly as the adults on farm were exposed to the virus
using a controlled exposure programme.
PCR tests conducted on the virus samples isolated from the Ukraine cases confirmed infection with
the highly-pathogenic American-Asian strain. Further reports of PEDv outbreaks in Italy and
Germany have been confirmed, although these have been relatively low impact on farm in
comparison and is not the same strain as that in the Ukraine. The difference in clinical signs seen in
different countries may be related to the cross-protection between different endemic PEDv strains.
2002 was the last time PEDv was detected in the UK, with a recent serology study on slaughter pigs
suggesting our national herd is largely naïve to the virus. With the infection now so close to the UK
border, good biosecurity is of the utmost importance.
Courtesy of Bishopton Vet Group; more info at www.bishoptonvets.co.uk