Researchers in the US claim to have proved for the first time that Porcine Epidemic Diarrhoea virus (PEDv) can be carried in animal feed.
The results of new research have been published in BMC Veterinary Research, with the conclusion that the data collected provides “proof of concept that contaminated complete feed can serve as a vehicle for PEDv infection of naïve pigs using natural feeding behaviour”.
The published paper notes that while contaminated feed was previously proposed as a risk factor for PEDv, sufficient data didn’t exist to support this theory. That has now changed, according to the research team from Pipestone Veterinary Services, Minnesota, and colleagues from the Animal Disease Research and Diagnostic Laboratory at South Dakota State University.
Their statement is based on an on-farm detection process in which paint rollers were used to collect material from at-risk feed bins from three clinically affected breeding herds. This material was tested and determined to be positive for PEDv-RNA.
To test infectivity, this material was pooled and a treatment group of three-week old PEDv-naïve piglets were allowed to consume it via natural feeding behaviour. For the purpose of a positive control, piglets were allowed to ingest feed spiked with stock PEDv while the negative control group received PEDv-free feed.
Clinical signs of PEDv infection, vomiting and diarrhoea, and viral shedding were observed in both the positive control and treatment group post-consumption with virus and microscopic lesions detected in intestinal samples. No evidence of infection was observed in the negative controls.
“We are excited to announce that after a long and rigorous process, Pipestone’s “PEDv in Feed Proof of Concept” paper has officially been released and is the first research study in the world that proves that animal feed can carry PEDv,” commented Pipestone, adding that such “cutting edge research” would be dedicated for use to improve the whole swine industry.