Learn lessons from PEDv, urges US expert

Sundberg said the US industry has to be better prepared for next time

The US pork industry cannot afford to relive the pork epidemic diarrhoea virus (PEDv) again, delegates to the International Production and Processing Expo were told.

The industry needs to learn the lessons of the devastating outbreak, which has impacted heavily on the sector over the past two years, with some estimates claiming up to 10m pigs have been lost, the National Pork Board’s vice-president of science and technology Dr Paul Sundberg said at a PEDv update seminar in Atlanta, Georgia.

"We have learnt a lot from this outbreak, but we have to be better prepared for next time."

The number of unknowns about the disease made it extremely hard to protect against further infection. "How did it get into the country? We don’t know and it’s unlikely we will ever find out. If that’s the case, that window stays open for multiple other things to come in, so we need to be ready for the next one."

He said that dealing with issues like this was something the industry needed to take responsibility for: "We cannot rely on the USDA to do our work for us. Producers have to step up, we can’t expect others to protect us."

As part of this, the US National Pork Board is investing $15m over five years into creating the Swine Health Information Centre to help protect against emerging diseases.

"We need somebody who wakes up every day thinking about emerging diseases. We cannot afford to relive PEDv again," Sundberg added.

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