PEDV outbreaks prompt a ‘CSI Pipestone’ investigation
When the porcine epidemic diarrhea virus (PEDV) devastated the US hog industry in 2013, the Pipestone System remained fairly unscathed, with only a couple of farms experiencing outbreaks, according to Scott Dee, DVM.
Their luck changed in January 2014, however. Within a 24- to 48-hour period, six to eight of their managed farms were infected with PEDV, despite a high level of biosecurity.
Feed link discovered
“One common denominator across many of these farms was the occurrence of a feed outage in a specific subpopulation of animals, requiring an emergency feed delivery to a specific bin onsite,” Dee told Pig Health Today in a recent interview
The pigs, considered the index cases of PEDV, consumed feed from those bins.
“They became infected right away and had clinical signs of vomiting. We could see a link with feed because that’s the only thing in common across all these farms,” he explained.
Dee and his team collected material from inside the feed bins, tested it and found the virus.
“That was the first time anyone had ever shown contaminated feed could infect pigs through natural feeding,” Dee added.
Thus began a CSI-style investigation for the answer to how this happened. The search by Dee and the team at Pipestone Applied Research was joined by scientists from South Dakota State University, including professors Eric Nelson and Diego Diel, and continues today.
The investigation revealed PEDV’s viability in feed ingredients, Dee said. It also has expanded to include the survival of high-risk viruses and the potential dangers of imported feed ingredients.