Pat Hord, owner
of Hord Livestock in Bucyrus, Ohio. He credits Ohio State with helping him control a PEDv outbreak at his swine operation.
In 2013, a new swine disease was discovered in the U.S. Very quickly, porcine epidemic diarrhea virus (PEDv) spread across the country, killing pigs at hundreds of farms in at least 30 states, including Ohio.
As PEDv has continued to impact the swine industry, Ohio State University Extension has worked with hog producers across the state to keep them updated about biosecurity measures they must follow to minimize the spread of the disease, and about technologies that can help them make better decisions.
“Working with Ohio State in concert with our local veterinarian has helped us use technology,such as new methods of testing for the disease, more effectively,” said Pat Hord, owner of Hord Livestock in Bucyrus, Ohio. His swine operation was affected by the virus, but has been successful at controlling it.
OSU Extension swine specialist Steve Moeller said continued research and educational efforts are needed to help the industry fend off PEDv and secure an adequate supply of pork products to
- PEDv has killed more than 7 million piglets in the U.S., reducing pork production and industry profits, and threatening to impact the availability of pork products as well as prices.
- Unlike other viruses, PEDv does not pose any risk to food safety or human health.
- The disease causes 50 to 100 percent mortality among piglets. Adult pigs show only mild illness, but they can carry the virus — which is transmitted via contaminated feces — and spread
it to other pigs.
- The virus has proven to be very persistent and difficult to contain. Hot summers and cold winters are having little effect on PEDv, so new herds are being infected on a continuous basis throughout the country.
- PEDv might also impact swine exhibits at agricultural fairs, as the conglomeration of animals from many different farms could spread the disease even further.
“Ohio State was extremely pivotal in helping answer questions about the potential spread of PEDv in the feed for Ohio pork producers,” said Dr. Todd Price, D.V.M., of North Central Veterinary Services in Sycamore, Ohio. “The university’s experts should be commended for their timely and valuable research put forth to help producers learn more about this devastating disease.”
OARDC researcher Qiuhong Wang studies PED virus.
In 2013, a new swine disease showed up in the U.S. Very quickly, porcine epidemic diarrhea virus (PEDv) spread across the country, killing 50–100 percent of piglets at hundreds of farms in at least 30 states, including Ohio. With funding from the National Pork Board, Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center scientists are conducting research to answer crucial questions about and develop effective tests and vaccines against PEDv.
“Our studies show that the PEDv strains circulating in the U.S. are more aggressive than the strains from Europe,” OARDC virologist Qiuhong Wang said. “In the U.S., it doesn’t look likely that PEDv will stop mutating and that herds will become endemic and experience little mortality.”
Scientists in Wang’s and Linda Saif’s labs grew the virus in cell culture and are using this material to develop a “booster” vaccine that can protect pigs previously exposed to PEDv. The end goal is to develop a stronger vaccine that can also protect swine with zero immunity to the virus.
- PEDv has killed more than 7 million piglets in the U.S., reducing pork production and threatening to impact the availability of pork products as well as prices.
- OARDC is one of the few facilities nationwide that has been able to grow PEDv in the lab, allowing researchers to have enough virus material to develop diagnostic tests and vaccine candidates.
- Ohio State University researchers are collaborating with a large animal health company to develop PEDv vaccines.
- OARDC animal disease research is supported by its unique germ-free animal labs, where new diseases and treatments can be tested in isolation; and by its Plant and Animal Agrosecurity Research facility, the only lab in Ohio and one of only two nationally with capacity for plant and animal disease research at the BSL-3 biosafety level.
“It is increasingly important that we have a high-quality swine research capability in Ohio,” said Pat Hord, owner of Hord Livestock Company in Bucyrus, Ohio. “We, as swine producers, need this information as soon as possible to help us manage diseases such as PEDv the best we can to limit severe economic losses.”