Regional pork industry stakeholders on the alert against new pig disease
The Caribbean Animal Health Network (CaribVET) is encouraging stakeholders in the regional pork industry to take every precaution to prevent the introduction of the viral disease, Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea (PED). PED has been present in both Europe and Asia for some time but since the first case was identified in the United States of America in May last year, the disease has spread rapidly to 23 states, across the border into Canada and was recently confirmed in Colombia and the Dominican Republic.
Once infected, a sick animal will begin to show signs of the disease within as little as 22-36 hours. The PED virus is spread through fecal matter, on the surface of contaminated objects and materials and via birds and people moving within or between farms. Although PED presents signs which are very similar to transmissible gastroenteritis (TGE) caused by the TGE virus, the two viruses are not related. Diagnosis of PED has to be conducted via laboratory testing of samples taken from dead pigs. Animals which have been exposed to, or vaccinated against TGE virus, are not protected against the PED virus and a vaccine against this disease is still being developed and tested.
CaribVET, working in tandem with national animal health authorities in the region, and with the support of international agencies like the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and World Organization for Animal Health (OIE), is stepping up its efforts to educate stakeholders and to put a set of protocols in place for the protection of the regional pork industry against this serious threat.