Veterinarians monitor pig virus that decimated herds in 2014; fewer cases reported this winter

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MANNING, Iowa — Veterinarians are working hard to monitor a virus that killed millions of baby pigs in the United States last year.

Iowa veterinarian Michelle Sprague, president of the American Association of Swine Veterinarians, said keeping track of the porcine epidemic diarrhea virus means more paperwork for veterinarians and more testing.

But all that reporting on the virus is creating a pool of information that might help limit the damage if the virus rebounds or if another disease emerges, Sprague told the Sioux City Journal (http://bit.ly/1xH1kVu .)

"We are definitely seeing fewer issues with PED than we did a year ago, primarily, I think, because of sow immunity," said Sprague, who practices in Manning, Iowa. "Biosecurity is also much better, and we have more information that we can access. All of that is going to help us better handle it."

The number of cases of the virus is down this winter, but it is still early in the season.

Sprague said the industry is better prepared to respond to the virus than it was when the disease first showed up, partly because there is better information on it now.

The pork industry is doing more to prevent the spread of disease, but it's too early to say if that will be enough to prevent an outbreak of the virus this year, said Tom Burkgren, executive director of the swine veterinarians association.

"I'm holding my breath a little, but it appears this winter is a much different situation," he said. "Roughly half of the sow herd was exposed to the virus last year, so we are seeing a better immune response than we did in 2013."


Information from: Sioux City Journal, http://www.siouxcityjournal.com

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