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Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea Virus (PEDV) has been confirmed in the US

Porcine epidemic diarrhea is an emerging virus among swine populations in the United States.  This pathogen is endemic in many other countries, including Great Britain and China, but has been classified as a foreign animal disease in the United States until its emergence here this spring.  While PEDV is not a reportable disease (i.e. it will not affect export markets), it can significantly affect the health and viability of swine herds. 

In naïve swine populations the clinical signs of PEDV includes acute onset of diarrhea in pigs of all ages.  The disease manifestation is identical to another porcine coronaviral disease, transmissible gastroenteritis (TGE).  Piglets (suckling and weanlings) are highly susceptible to the disease with herd mortality rates ranging between 30-100%.

The virus is transmitted horizontally via the fecal-oral route.  The incubation period is short (12-24) hours and infected animals will continue to shed the virus in feces for up to 10 days.  Once a herd is infected, the virus can become endemic in that herd.  Introduction of the virus into naïve herds occurs by the addition of new pigs and also by fomites (boots, trucks, clothing and instruments contaminated with viral particles). 

The only known host for PEDV is pigs.  While this virus is not a public health threat, persons working with swine herds should remain vigilant in preventing cross-contamination between herds by decontaminating all potential fomites.  As always, isolation protocols for introducing new swine should be strictly maintained.

PEDV is diagnosed via PCR on feces or intestines or by immunohistochemistry on formalin fixed post mortem samples.  A possible PEDV outbreak is defined as acute onset of malabsorptive diarrhea in pigs of all ages with a 50% morbidity rate.  If PEDV is suspected submit at least 10 ml of feces on ice from acutely-affected pigs (within first 24 hours of onset of diarrhea). 

Acutely ill pigs that die or are euthanized within 24 hours of diarrhea onset can be submitted to for necropsy, and post-mortem samples will be collected for PEDV diagnosis.  In the case of acute herd mortality events, necropsy on moribund animals is recommended to diagnose PEDV and to rule out differential agents that can manifest as acute diarrhea in swine populations. Please contact the laboratory to discuss your case and testing needs with a pathologist.