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Keep ND swine virus free

The porcine epidemic diarrhea virus (PEDv) poses such a high risk to pigs that everyone involved with swine must work to prevent its spread to North Dakota, according to North Dakota State University Extension Service swine specialist David Newman.

The porcine epidemic diarrhea virus (PEDv) poses such a high risk to pigs that everyone involved with swine must work to prevent its spread to North Dakota, according to North Dakota State University Extension Service swine specialist David Newman.

The pork industry estimates that PEDv has killed more than 4 million pigs in 23 states. It has been found in neighboring states and Canada, but it has not been discovered in North Dakota.

"Regardless of whether you are a youth swine exhibitor or a commercial pork producer, you equally possess the same amount of risk of spreading the disease," Newman says. "Just one pig could compromise the livelihood of the entire North Dakota pork industry. It's really up to you to prevent the virus from spreading."

Newman has created a website ( www.tinyurl.com/PEDVinfo ) that has information about the virus and how anyone working around swine -- commercial pork producers, youth exhibitors and pig transporters -- can prevent it from spreading. The site also has links to information about the virus from national pork organizations, the American Association of Swine Veterinarians and the North Dakota Department of Agriculture.

"It is critically important for everyone around swine to use proper biosecurity methods," Newman says. Those methods include washing boots and clothing before and after being around swine, cleaning and disinfecting vehicles used to transport pigs, and establishing a line of separation between clean and dirty areas.

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The state veterinarian has ordered that all swine coming into North Dakota must be accompanied by a health certificate declaring that they have not been exposed to PEDv. This does not apply to pigs that pass through North Dakota while being transported from Canada or another state to a destination outside North Dakota. Visit www.tinyurl.com/swine importregs for more information about the state's swine importation requirements.

PEDv spreads very easily through swine fecal matter and has been found in transport vehicles, processing plants and pig collection points.

The virus causes severe diarrhea, dehydration and vomiting in pigs. While older pigs have a chance of surviving, the mortality rate in newborn piglets from herds not previously exposed to PEDv is nearly 100 percent.

"The cases have been on the rise," Newman says. "That's the scary part about this."

The first week of February had the highest increase in new cases, at 301, since the virus was discovered in the U.S. in April 2013.

PEDv does not affect humans, and pork is safe to eat, Newman notes.

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