Defra has made the Porcine Epidemic Diarrhoea (PED) virus a notifiable disease, following discussions with pig industry bodies. It is now a legal requirement to notify the Animal and Plant Health Authority (APHA) of suspected and confirmed cases of PED in pigs in England.
However, unlike other notifiable diseases in pigs, there is no legislative requirement for official testing, culling, movement controls or other restrictions. Control of the disease, should it appear in England, will be industry-led. APHA will inform the industry levy board, AHDB Pork, of all suspect and confirmed cases. AHDB Pork will then provide biosecurity advice to the pig unit concerned and alert those at risk.
Defra says PED remains a significant threat to British pig herds. The highly pathogenic strain that had a severe effect on the North American pig industry in 2014 has been detected in Asia and, more recently, the Ukraine. While there have been no reports of this strain in the EU, there are other strains of PEDV circulating in mainland Europe. It says that making PED notifiable in England will enable the pig industry to take prompt and targeted action to manage any PED outbreaks more effectively.
Porcine epidemic diarrhoea virus (PEDV) is a coronavirus that infects the cells lining the small intestine of a pig, causing severe diarrhoea and dehydration. The disease is most serious in new born sucking piglets, where the strain of PEDV which causes more severe disease can result in mortality of up to 100%.
PEDV is harmless to humans and other farm animals and is not a food safety risk. It is highly infectious and is mainly spread by infected pigs and anything contaminated with their infected faeces. Its spread can however be controlled if scrupulous biosecurity measures are followed.