Vilsack announces funding to combat PEDv; disease reporting required
By Jennifer Carrico
Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack visited the World Pork Expo in Des Moines on June 5 to announce $26.2 million in funding to combat porcine epidemic diarrhea virus and other diseases.
In addition, Vilsack announced the USDA has issued a federal order requiring the reporting of new detection of PEDv and porcine deltacoronavirus to its Animal Plant Health Inspection Service or state animal health officials.
“We live in a global economy and our hog industry has been affected by a serious problem,” Vilsack said. “PEDv was only affecting 100 producers a year ago, but now 4,700-plus operations have been affected and this virus shows up in at least 200 more operations each week. We need to aggressively face this.”
While the viruses do not pose any risk to human health or food safety, they have been found in many countries around the world, and more than 7 million pigs have died from PEDv in the U.S. in the past year.
“Pork producers have dealt with the death of 10 percent of the U.S. pork herd. This will decrease profits to pork producers and increase prices to consumers,” Vilsack said.
The number of market hogs this summer is expected to drop by 10 percent, as PEDv can lead to 100 percent mortality in pigs 3 weeks of age and younger.
The $26.2 million of funding for combating these viruses will be used in a variety of ways to support producers:
$3.9 million to be used by USDA’s Agricultural Research Service to support the development of vaccines;
$2.4 million to cooperative agreement funding for states to support management and control activities;
$500,000 to herd veterinarians to help with development and monitoring of herd management plans and sample collection;
$11.1 million in cost-share funding for producers of infected herds to support biosecurity practices;
$2.4 million for diagnostic testing; and
$1.5 million to National Animal Health Laboratory Network diagnostic laboratories for genomic sequencing for newly positive herds.
The federal order requires producers, veterinarians and diagnostic laboratories to report all cases of PEDv and other new swine enteric coronavirus diseases to USDA and state animal health officials. This order is expected to help identify the magnitude of the disease and the path in which it is spreading.
“The federal order also requires that the operation reporting these viruses work with their veterinarian or animal health officials to develop and implement a management plan,” Vilsack said. “This order is for producers to report the problem; it does not restrict movement or set any quarantines on these herds.”
John Clifford, chief veterinarian for the USDA, said, “We just want to know if the operation is affected, not how many pigs are affected. We will help local veterinarians with a management plan once a herd has an outbreak.”
Senate Agricultural Committee Chair Debbie Stabenow, D-MI, applauds the USDA for addressing the spread of PEDv.
“Pork producers in Michigan and across the country have suffered major losses due to the virus. If left unaddressed, this virus could have very serious implications for consumers, the economy, and the livelihood of producers and businesses across the country. I will continue to monitor the situation closely and work with producers and the USDA until the situation is stabilized,” Stabenow said.
The speed that PEDv spread across the U.S. has been of major concern to animal health officials and pork producers, as well as the lack of knowledge on the disease. They are also concerned that they are uncertain where PEDv originated and how it was introduced into the U.S.
“We need to see how we can manage the viruses in order to prevent the spread and help get a vaccine before herds start breaking again,” Vilsack said. “We are looking at how we can track animal and human travel, as well as the travel of feed ingredients if that is a source of virus spread.”
Vilsack said the USDA has been working with industry officials and animal health officials to find out what needs done to manage PEDv and similar diseases. The management also includes a focus on security at the borders.
Biosecurity continues to be an important management plan for all producers as PEDv spreads via fecal-oral exposure. The sources of a spread can be from anything contaminated with manure, including clothing, footwear, trucks and equipment.
Jennifer Carrico can be reached by phone at 515-833-2120 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.