Pig owners, veterinarians, and laboratory diagnosticians will need to tell the Department of Agriculture if they discover pigs infected with porcine epidemic diarrhea virus or a recently discovered deltacoronavirus.
USDA officials announced in April that the requirements—to be implemented with the impending publication of a federal order—would help identify problems in disease control and help efforts to stop spread of the organisms. The requirements would not only mandate reporting of infections but also require tracking movements of pigs, vehicles, and equipment when they are removed from farms with infected animals.
Joelle R. Hayden, a spokeswoman for the USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, said at the time that the publication date for the federal order had not been set.
The USDA will not stop owners from moving pigs off farms with infections. But a department document available in April indicated the industry would help develop protocols to minimize virus spread, and use of those protocols would be required. The protocols were expected to involve efforts such as vehicle cleaning and disinfection.
PED is estimated to have killed millions of neonatal pigs since it was first identified in the U.S. in April 2013. Swine deltacoronavirus was discovered earlier this year. Officials with the Ohio Department of Agriculture announced it had found the virus in fecal samples from pigs that had clinical signs similar to those of PED, but with a lower herd mortality rate.
Dr. Brian McCluskey, chief epidemiologist for APHIS Veterinary Services, said epidemiologic investigations by the agency showed that pigs confirmed to be infected with the deltacoronavirus had clinical disease. That included up to a 40 percent mortality rate among neonatal pigs in some herds, a lower rate than that found with most PED virus infections.
Some of those herds had been infected with PED virus prior to infection with the deltacoronavirus and could have had overlapping clinical signs, but some of the herds with clinical signs were positive for the deltacoronavirus and not for PED virus, Dr. McCluskey said.
The USDA announced that the department was helping owners with PED outbreaks through disease surveillance, herd monitoring, and epidemiologic investigations, as well as by providing credit to help farm finances. And work by the USDA Agricultural Research Service has included modeling disease transmission, which is contributing to vaccine development, the USDA announced.