ISU's Dr. Gauger Explains All Things PEDV

Joanna Schroeder

The emergence of PEDV took the U.S. by storm and according to Dr Phillip Gauger, with Iowa State University, Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory, between April 28 – May 4, 2013 they had four separate ISU-VDL submissions – one from Indiana and three from Iowa – from farms with no relationship. He and his team realized after running diagnostic tests that more tests were needed. Then in partnership with the National Veterinary Services Laboratory (NVSL) they conducted additional tests and discovered the virus was PEDV (Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea Virus). On May 17, 2013 NVSL announced that PEDV was in the U.S. and with that the PEDV epidemic began.

I asked Dr. Gauger, who participated in Boehringer Ingelheim’s (BIVI) seminar, “PEDV is Speaking: Are We Listening,” at the 2014 World Pork Expo,  to explain exactly how the PEDV virus works. He explained that PEDV is a viral infection that infects the pig Dr Phillip Gauger ISU-VDLthrough fecal-oral transmission, it can infect an animal orally, then sets up replication or propagation of the virus within the intestinal tract destroying the mucous. And as the virus replicates, and more virus gets shed into the environment naturally, that intestinal lining becomes destroyed. Depending on the age of the pig some could be severely affected with profuse diarrhea followed by death. In older pigs they can become clinical but less affected and mortality isn’t as severe.

There are two known strains of the virus in the U.S. and Dr. Gauger said there are several challenges with regards to the virus: prevention and control; vaccination; virus transmission (they still don’t know exactly how the virus is transmitted); and diagnostic tests.

In addition, he said there are some future PEDV perspectives that need to be considered. For example, there are still some unanswered questions: How did PEDv enter the U.S.? What are the pathogenic differences between the original and variant PEDV? What new biosecurity needs and methods of control of PEDV are needed?

Today, Dr. Gauger said there are 13 labs voluntarily reporting PEDV and it has been confirmed in 26 states. It has also been found in Canada and Mexico. In the U.S. there has been a loss of 10 percent of the pig population or 7 million pigs, since May of 2013.

Dr. Gauger stressed the need for more voluntary samples to be submitted to labs for testing. In addition, he stressed the need for voluntary collaboration within the swine industry to expand PEDV research and knowledge. When I asked him about the talk around mandatory reporting, he said, “The industry is much better off taking a proactive stance to lead the efforts and do some voluntary reporting including voluntarily offering information and voluntarily offering samples unique to their particular system. In the long-run this will become more productive than waiting for something to become mandatory and that’s required and that can cause some consternation or concern on the part of the producer when they don’t understand what potential ramifications could come out of that.”

*Note: The day following my interview with Dr. Gauger, USDA Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack announced mandatory reporting of PEDV.

Learn all things PEDV in my interview with Dr. Phiilip Gauger: All Things PEDV

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