US researchers have reported that Porcine Epidemic Diarrhoea virus (PEDv) can become airborne, remaining infectious while suspended in the air, and that PEDv genetic material can travel up to 10 miles from natural infections.
Research, carried out by a team from the College of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Minnesota, involved taking air samples from a room containing experimentally infected pigs and at various distances from the outside of pig farms which were experiencing acute PEDv outbreaks.
The results, published in the scientific journal Veterinary Research, “indicated” the presence of infectious PEDv in the air from the experimentally infected pigs. In addition, genetic PEDv material was “detected up to ten miles downwind from the naturally infected farms”.
As part of the research, air sample collections were taken at different locations downwind from infected farms, ranging from 0.006 to 15 miles, with the research team finding that pigs inoculated with diluted air samples subsequently developed PEDv clinical signs and lesions. They also found evidence of PEDv in faeces and tissues, indicating that the air samples contained infectious PEDv.
This is believed to be the first report to establish that PEDv can be found in the air, that suspended airborne particles can be infectious, and that PEDv genetic material can be transported over long distances.