Mike Brumm knows all about pork production challenges in Nebraska. He served as a University of Nebraska Extension swine specialist in the state for nearly three decades before moving to Minnesota and starting his own swine consultant business. Brumm, who owns Brumm Swine Consultancy, Inc. at North Mankato, MN, told producers at the Nebraska Pork Producers Association Industry Day in Norfolk recently that porcine epidemic diarrhea virus, or PEDV, has changed the way producers do business.
First recognized in England in 1971, the virus has been identified in a number of European countries, and most recently in China, Korea and Japan, according to literature from the National Pork Board. USDA first confirmed the existence of the virus in the U.S. last May. Since then, it has spread into 20 or more states rapidly via the fecal-oral route, much like TGE and related diseases. With almost 100% mortality expected in pre-weaned pigs, animals with PEDV suffer from severe diarrhea at all ages and vomiting. Common sources of transmission include contact with infected feces spread by pigs, trucks, boots and shoes and clothing. The incubation period is only 12 to 24 hours.
While the disease is not a reportable or trade-restricting disease and it poses no risk to humans or other livestock, it is extremely contagious, Brumm told producers. The biggest concern for spread is in hog-dense areas. "It lives well in cold weather," Brumm said.
Extreme measures of biosecurity are the only way to prevent spread of PEDV on the farm. "It isn't really biosecurity if it doesn't inconvenience you," Brumm said. "There should be no street shoes in hog barns," he said. "Shoes stay at the door." He said that entry into barns should include a physical barrier or bench entry, so there is no chance that street shoes make it inside. The barrier needs to reach down to the floor, so no foreign materials can fall beneath it.
"You have to assume that common meeting points are contaminated with PEDV," Brumm said. Places like convenience stores, grain elevators counters and coffee shops are mostly like places to pick it up. "You might do a great job of cleaning everything, but your neighbor may not," he said.
"The challenge comes in trucks and other people we let on our farms," Brumm explained. "To load out, truckers often have to come through the barns." He said producers need to develop protocol for parking for workers and visitors. He suggested moving vehicle parking to a remote site and requiring workers to walk to a farm entry point.
"But what do we do about custom power washing crews, feed trucks, propane trucks, custom manure haulers and rendering trucks?" Brumm asked. Washing truck tires and thinking about entry and access to facilities are things that need to be addressed, he said.
You can learn more about PEDV by contacting your local swine veterinarian, or by calling Brumm at 507-625-5935.