PEDv, in its milder form, is reported in four EU countries

There have been significant developments in Europe in the last year relating to Porcine Epidemic Diarrhoea virus (PEDv), although only in the “milder” form of the disease, according to the Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA).

The Agency’s latest Pig Disease Surveillance Report lists repeat outbreaks of PEDv in Italy and Germany and first time outbreaks in France and the Netherlands.

“The EFSA Scientific Opinion on PEDv, published in October 2014, described outbreaks of PEDv in Italy and Germany in 2014 from which the virus strains characterised were shown to be similar to each other, clustering genetically with a strain known as OH851,” reported APHA, adding that this strain was also found in the US in 2014, where it was associated with the milder form of the disease.

Referring to the details of a German PEDv case of OH851, the APHA report stated that is was “distinct from those described as the highly virulent PEDv strains which cause severe piglet mortality in North America and Asia”.

In addition, however, APHA reported that between October and December 2014, France and the Netherlands saw their first outbreaks of PEDv.

The original source of these infections is not currently known but, according to APHA, could be due to new introductions from outside Europe, spread from somewhere undisclosed within Europe or a more severe recurrence from a previous low level infection.  It was also stated that some of the outbreaks were known to have pig transport vehicle links.

“Clinical signs, even in post-weaned growing pigs, have been distinctive with very high morbidity reported at all ages,” said APHA. “Rapidly spreading and transient profuse diarrhoea of virtually 100% morbidity is not common at any age so these clinical signs are a good early warning. Pigs may show some lethargy and inappetance.”

There is also a comment, however, that vets involved in suspected outbreaks should consider other diagnoses, such as salmonellosis, E-coli and swine dysentery, as such conditions could occur concurrently.

“Mortality in sucking pigs in Western Europe, found to have the OH851 strain of PEDv, has been variable and not always high,” said APHA, adding that concurrent infections, secondary infections and the level of care given to piglets appear to be important factors affecting mortality. 

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