Dakotas state vets caution about pig virus spread

Farm Forum

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — State veterinarians in the Dakotas are stressing the need for people in the hog industry to take measures to guard against the spread of deadly pig viruses, after two new cases were confirmed in South Dakota.

South Dakota veterinary officials this week said two more farms have confirmed cases of Swine Enteric Coronavirus Diseases, bringing the state total to 38 farms. Most of the cases are the Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea virus, which has killed millions of pigs in the U.S. in the past year and has been blamed for sharp increases in the price of pork products such as bacon.

State Veterinarian Dustin Oedekoven said South Dakota has had considerably fewer cases than neighboring states such as Minnesota and Iowa, but the PED virus is still a concern because it’s so easily spread. Producers should consider all potential contamination threats, he said.

“Right down to the deliveryman who’s bringing packages to the farm,” Oedekoven said. “You want to have all the deliveries made to a secure location that’s not right where the pigs are, because there’s potential for the environmental contamination.”

PED was confirmed in a swine herd in eastern North Dakota in February. Officials said it likely was brought in by a vehicle that had visited a slaughterhouse in another state.

The confirmation of new cases in South Dakota points out the need for precautions, North Dakota State Veterinarian Susan Keller said.

“I don’t know that it is inevitable that North Dakota might have additional cases, but if biosecurity actions taken by our producers lapse or someone sending pigs isn’t aware of clinical signs, then yes, our producers could still import animals affected by PEDV or other SECD viruses,” Keller said.

Precautions should include keeping barns, clothing and vehicles clean and disinfected, she said.

There has been no hard data released on the effectiveness of commercial vaccines, Keller said, “but even vaccines will not negate the need for good biosecurity measures.”

North Dakota has implemented new requirements for the importing of hogs, including those shown at county fairs and the State Fair, to keep PED from mushrooming in the state. Deputy State Veterinarian Beth Carlson said no additional cases of PEDV have been found, and the Agriculture Department is not aware of any problems surfacing at fairs.