The National Pork Board has approved $450,000 in checkoff funds to facilitate research into porcine epidemic diarrhea virus (PEDV), which was discovered in the U.S. three weeks ago.
The money will be pooled with a grant of $77,000 from the Iowa Pork Producers Assn., according to the announcement.
The funding was announced June 5 at the World Pork Expo (WPX) in Des Moines, Iowa.
The Pork Board took this action to help provide answers for pork producers as fast as possible "to help protect their herds from this devastating disease," said Conley Nelson, a producer from Algona, Iowa, and the board's immediate past president.
Dr. Paul Sundberg, the board's vice president for science and technology, noted that PEDV is common in many parts of the world and is not a regulatory/reportable or trade-restricting disease.
However, he said it is a disease that hits baby pigs under three weeks old especially hard and leads to high mortality rates, as producers in a number of states have experienced. He said older pigs that contract the disease normally recover.
PEDV appears clinically to be like transmissible gastroenteritis (TGE), which causes acute diarrhea, Sundberg said, advising producers who identify TGE-like symptoms to immediately work with their veterinarian and maintain strict biosecurity protocols.
The board's swine health committee will oversee the research in close collaboration with the American Association of Swine Veterinarians, the National Pork Producers Council (NPPC) and state associations, the announcement said.
Nelson said the research must be very specific and have a fast turnaround "so that we can get answers quickly.
Rapid three weeks
NPPC chief executive officer Neil Dierks, speaking to reporters at WPX on June 5, said there are no specific numbers available as to how many herds in how many states have been affected by PEDV or on the death losses.
However, he said "a lot of efforts" are underway to get that information, including the development of a surveillance survey that will not only try to identify numbers but the pathway by which PEDV entered the U.S. and how it spreads.
"It's been a rapid three weeks," Dierks said.
WPX is the largest swine-specific educational event and trade show in the world and runs June 5-8.