PEDv: What Is It and What Does It Mean for You?

— Written By

We’ve all heard the media reports about the swine industry and PEDv. A new virus hitting the U.S. and impacting the supply of pork; unfortunately our producers in Wayne County are no exception. Since it first broke in May 2013, 30 states have been reported to be affected by Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea Virus (PEDv). Approximately 1 in 10 farms have had cases of the virus, impacting their piglet supply. This virus is not brand new, in fact, it was reported as early as 1971 in Europe and has become endemic in Asia. In the past year, U.S. pig loss numbers from 7-8 million have been reported.

PEDv affects young piglets, usually less than 3 weeks old, and causes them to become severely dehydrated due to diarrhea and vomiting. The piglets do not survive to be processed or slaughtered; therefore, this disease does not affect the pork quality. It cannot be spread to humans and our biggest worry as consumers should be our wallets!

This week a vaccine was approved for commercial use. The vaccine will be given to sows and the hope is that they will pass on the immunity to their nursing piglets. Research shows positive results from this vaccine, but of course nothing is 100% perfect. Chances are this vaccine will decrease the number of cases, or at least recurring cases, in the pork industry and hopefully stabilize the impact.

Look for pork prices to go up in the next few months but don’t worry about the quality in your grocery store. The pork industry sets high standards for their product and this will not change.

Stefani Garbacik is a Livestock and Forage Extension Agent with the North Carolina Cooperative Extension. If you need any further assistance, please contact her at Stefani_garbacik@ncsu.edu or (919) 731-1525.