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Third Strain of PEDv Identified in Minnesota

Three steps forward, two steps back. That seems to be the never-ending theme of the porcine epidemic diarrhea virus, better know as PEDv. 

U.S. researchers have identified a third strain of PEDv in a Minnesota hog herd that’s believed to be as contagious as the first strain that devastated hog producers, killing millions of piglets beginning in early 2013, says Douglas Marthaler, assistant professor of veterinary population medicine at the University of Minnesota.

Experts say that this newly discovered strain could have existed in the U.S. since early 2013 without being detected, or it might be a mutation of the original strain.

The biggest concern? Researchers believe that the virus is mutating as fast or faster than producers are being able to contain it. 

PEDv has killed over 8 million pigs in the U.S. thus far (roughly 10 percent of the U.S. hog population), mysteriously jumped the ocean to Hawaii, and continues to be extremely contagious through contact with fecal matter of infected hogs. Hog producers should continue to take all of the precautions that they did for the first two strains — the original, virulent strain and the second, less virulent strain. 

Defense tactics such as washing trucks and clothes are as important as ever, especially during the winter months. PEDv thrives in cold, moist conditions, living more than 28 days on surfaces compared to 14 days during warmer months.

If herds have had one strain of PEDv, are they immune from another strain? We’d sure like to think so.

"Whether or not exposure to one of the earlier strains provides protection against this strain, I don't think anybody knows the answer to that question," said Harry Snelson, a veterinarian who represents the American Association of Swine Veterinarians.

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