Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack has announced that USDA will require reporting of Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea Virus (PEDV) and Swine Delta Coronavirus in order to slow the spread of this disease across the United States. The move was made in part to help enhance biosecurity and health of the U.S. swine herd, while still allowing movement of pigs.
USDA is taking this latest action due to the devastating effect of PEDV on swine health since it was first confirmed in the country last year, even though it is not a reportable disease under international standards.
Vilsack says that USDA has been working closely with the pork industry, as well as the state and federal partners to help solve this problem. "Together, we have established testing protocols, sequenced the virus and are investigating how the virus is transmitted," he says, adding that these actions "will help identify gaps in biosecurity and help us as we work together to stop the spread of these diseases and the damage caused to producers, industry and ultimately consumers."
In addition to requiring reporting of the PEDV and Swine Delta Coronavirus, the agency will also require tracking movements of pigs, vehicles, and other equipment leaving affected premises; however, movements would still be allowed. USDA is also working with industry partners to increase assistance to producers who have experienced PEDV outbreaks in other critical areas such as disease surveillance, herd monitoring and epidemiological and technical support.
As part of USDA's coordinated response, the agency's Farm Loan Programs division is working with producers to provide credit options, including restructuring loans, similar to how the Farm Service Agency successfully worked with livestock producers affected by the blizzard in South Dakota. In the case of guaranteed loans, USDA is encouraging guaranteed lenders to use all the flexibility available under existing guarantees, and to use new guarantees where appropriate to continue financing their regular customers.
USDA is already providing assistance to researchers looking into this disease, with the Agricultural Research Service (ARS) working with the National Animal Disease Center in Ames, Iowa to make models of the disease transmission and testing feedstuffs. This modeling work is contributing to some experimental vaccines to treat animals. ARS also has a representative serving as a member of the Swine Health Board. USDA also provides competitive grant funding through the Agriculture and Food Research Initiative program and anticipates some applications on PEDV research will be submitted soon. In addition, USDA provides formula funds to states and universities through the Hatch Act and National Animal Health Disease Section 1433 for research activities surrounding this disease.
In conjunction with the pork industry, state and federal partners, USDA is working to develop appropriate responses to the PEDV and Swine Delta Coronavirus. Check out the question-and-answer sheet about new reporting requirements from USDA's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service.
USDA has also created a document that offers a look at the agency's actions to date.