FARGO, N.D. (NewsDakota.com) Implementing strict biosecurity procedures is as important as ever, now that North Dakota has its first case of the porcine epidemic diarrhea virus according to North Dakota State University Extension Service swine specialist David Newman.

The PEDv has killed more than 4 million U.S. pigs since it was discovered in the
country in April 2013. The first North Dakota case was confirmed in a swine herd in the eastern part of the state in February.

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

Biosecurity involves making sure the swine barn is clean and virus-free, and establishing a line of separation between the clean area (the barn) and the dirty area (anywhere outside the barn). It also includes washing boots andclothing before and after being around swine, and cleaning and disinfecting vehicles used to transport pigs.

“The best method for swine barn employees to prevent bringing the virus into a
farm is to shower into and out of the facility each time they enter,” Newman
says. “This is a routine procedure in modern swine production and creates a good
barrier.”

A simpler way to maintain that separation is to have everyone sit on a bench between the clean and dirty areas and remove his or her boots or shoes before entering the barn, then put on clean boots once in the barn, according to Jennifer Young, NDSU swine research technician.

An alternative to changing into clean boots is to have people put on plastic boots over their street footwear, Young says.

NDSU has a website (http://tinyurl.com/PEDVinfo) with information about the virus and how anyone working around swine – commercial pork producers, youth exhibitors and pig transporters – can prevent it from spreading. That includes a video describing biosecurity measures.

Neil Dyer, director of the NDSU Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory, is urging swine producers who suspect the PEDv is in their herd to contact the lab at (701) 231-8307.

Dyer says the lab can diagnose the PEDv in dead piglets, intestinal samples or feces using a variety of tests. However, the best and quickest test is known as PCR, or polymerase chain reaction, a molecular assay specifically for the virus. He says “The best sample for the lab is one that comes from a recently dead, untreated piglet.”

Newman stresses that the PEDv is not a human food safety issue; it is an animal health issue that only affects pigs.

For more information about the virus, contact Newman at (701) 231-7366 or [email protected], or state veterinarian Susan Keller at (701) 328-2655 or
[email protected]