The PED virus infection has never been detected in Denmark and cannot be transmitted to humans. A new and more aggressive type of the virus has spread from Asia to the American continent and the EU has introduced restrictions in order to avoid further dissemination of the virus.
Porcine epidemic diarrhoea is a virus infection that can affect pigs of all age groups. PED occurred in several European countries in the 1980s and the 1990s but has since disappeared in most countries and has never been found in Denmark.
A more aggressive type has been known for many years in the Middle East but in 2013, PED occurred in the US. The virus spread to many places in the US and to Canada and several South American counties. The virus is genetically related to types from the Middle East and it is assumed that the American virus has come from here. The source of infection or the introduction pathways are unknown although feed ingredients have been suspected. In particular blood plasma used for piglets has been under suspicion as the cause and it has been proved that a part of the dissemination in the US can be attributed to blood plasma.
In 2014, instances of PED were found in Italy and Germany where this virus is quite similar to the American virus but it is not possible to say for certain whether it is the same virus.
What does the Danish pig industry do in order to avoid PED?
The EU has introduced restrictions on blood plasma imported from third-world countries with requirements for heat treatment and six weeks of storage. SEGES, the Knowledge Centre for Pig Production,has recommended gradual phased elimination of the use of blood plasma in 2015 and has introduced the requirement for phasing out in the DANISH Standard.
What are the symptoms for the pigs?
The principal symptom is severe diarrhoea in almost all pigs. In suckling pigs and pigs that have just been weaned off, the progress is often quite severe with a mortality of between 80 and 100 per cent but in older animals, the mortality is lower.
After 3-4 weeks, the symptoms will abate as immunity is developed in the affected animal and new-born suckling pigs get antibodies through the raw milk from the sow.
PED virus is not contagious for humans.
Read more about PED here: