On June 5 Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced USDA will fund a $26.2 million campaign to combat porcine epidemic diarrhea virus (PEDv) and porcine deltacoronavirus (PDCoV).
In addition, a Federal Order was issued by USDA that will require the reporting of new detections of these viruses to its Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) or State animal health officials.
“In the last year, the industry has estimated PEDv has killed some 7 million piglets and caused tremendous hardship for many American pork producers,” Vilsack said. “The number of market-ready hogs this summer could fall by more than 10 percent relative to 2013 because of PEDv.
“Together with industry and our state partners, the steps we will take through the Federal Order will strengthen the response to PEDv and these other viruses and help lessen the impact to producers, which ultimately benefit the consumers who have seen store pork prices rise by almost 10 percent in the past year,” he added.
The APHIS Federal Order requires producers, veterinarians and diagnostic laboratories to report all cases of PEDv and other new swine enteric coronavirus diseases to USDA and state animal health officials.
The industry is already seeing herds previously impacted by the virus become re-infected, and routine and standard disease reporting will help identify the magnitude of the disease in the United States and can help determine whether additional actions are needed.
Soon after Vilsack’s announcement, Dr. Howard Hill, National Pork Producers Council president, said, “We’re hopeful the USDA plan will work. We still need to see the fine details of the program, but if USDA can focus a lot of the plan on researching and testing this devastating disease and on helping producers enhance their biosecurity, that would go a long way to helping us know how to control and to prevent the virus.”
But some said this USDA action should have happened some time ago. Congresswoman Rosa Delauro (D-Conn.), former chairwoman of the subcommittee responsible for funding the USDA, released the following statement after the USDA announcement.
“I applaud USDA for its critical, though long overdue actions. In the past year families have seen pork prices skyrocket and farmers have seen millions of pigs die,” Delauro said. “Yet no one can figure out the cause of this disease. The department I charge of protecting our nation’s food supply should not have taken a year to act. But I hope with resources finally being put into monitoring PEDv, we will at long last be able to track the cause of this virus and stop it in its tracks.”
The $26.2 million will be used for a variety of activities to support producers and combat these diseases, including:
– $3.9 million to be used by USDA’s Agricultural Research Service (ARS) to support the development of vaccines.
– $2.4 million to cooperative agreement funding for states to support management and control activities.
– $500,000 to herd veterinarians to help with development and monitoring of herd management plans and sample collection.
– $11.1 million in cost-sharing funding for producers of infected herds to support biosecurity practices.
– $2.4 million for diagnostic testing.
– $1.5 million to the National Animal Health Laboratory Network diagnostic laboratories for genomic sequencing for newly positive herds.
The Federal Order also requires that operations reporting these viruses work with their veterinarian or USDA or state animal health officials to develop and implement a reasonable management plan to address the detected virus and prevent its spread.
Plans will be based on industry-recommended best practices, and include disease monitoring through testing and biosecurity measurers. These steps will help to reduce virus shed in affected animals for production and processing.
The USDA announcement noted that these viruses do not pose any risk to human health or food safety, and they are commonly detected in countries around the world. For this reason, the international animal health governing body, the OIE, believes that cases of PEDv and these other swine enteric coronavirus diseases shouldn’t be the basis for countries to restrict exports of pork and pork products from the U.S.