considers mandatory reports of deadly pig virus outbreaks: industry
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[April 15, 2014]
By Tom Polansek and Meredith Davis
— The United States is
considering rules that would require outbreaks of a deadly pig virus
to be reported to the government in an effort to improve tracking of
the disease, which has already spread to 30 states, an industry
group said on Monday.
Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea virus (PEDv) has killed
millions of baby pigs since it was first detected in the United
States a year ago. PEDv has crimped hog supplies in the United
States and sent prices to record highs. It remains unclear how the
virus entered the country, and farmers have struggled to find ways
to contain it.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has discussed the option
of mandatory reporting with the American Association of Swine
Veterinarians, said Tom Burkgren, executive director of the
PEDv, which is nearly always fatal in piglets, has been difficult to
track in part because veterinarians are not required to alert
government officials of its presence.
USDA is "currently evaluating additional options for addressing this
virus," a spokeswoman said in an email without elaborating.
The veterinarians' association has been publishing weekly data on
outbreaks, based on voluntary reports, since PEDv was first
discovered in the United States. The virus does not affect humans.
Burkgren said it may be too late for mandatory reporting to have
significant benefits to the livestock industry.
"You've got a very widely distributed disease," he said. "At this
point in the outbreak, I think we'd have to see some really good
reasons to start reporting it."
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Further discussions with the USDA are expected later this week,
Burkgren said, adding that the government had not yet given details
on how mandatory reports could potentially be used.
Mandatory reporting is already used for viruses such as African
swine fever and foot-and-mouth disease. The USDA can quarantine
animals with African swine fever and restrict the movement of
(Editing by Lisa Shumaker)
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