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BPEX funding for porcine epidemic diarrhoea testing in outbreaks of diarrhoea

In order to increase the chances of early detection of virulent porcine epidemic diarrhoea virus (PEDv) which has been spreading in North America and elsewhere in the world, BPEX are funding PEDv PCR testing of faeces or intestinal contents from outbreaks of diarrhoea in any age of pig on premises in England and Wales.

In order to access this testing, where a farmer, pig keeper and/or veterinary surgeon encounters an outbreak of diarrhoea, a pooled sample of faeces (or terminal small or large intestinal contents if pigs are dying) should be collected from up to five pigs affected with diarrhoea. The faeces should be freshly passed and collected from pigs early in the course of disease. The samples must be submitted with a fully completed APHA submission form selecting APHA Bury St Edmunds at the top of the form and writing “PEDv PCR BPEX” in the Tests box.

Samples must be packaged according to usual requirements for APHA diagnostic samples in robust leakproof containers with sufficient absorbent material to prevent fluid escape in the event of leakage and sent to APHA Weybridge:

Sample reception area, APHA Weybridge
Woodham Lane, New Haw, Addlestone Surrey KT15 3NB

The PEDv PCR results will be reported to the submitting veterinary practice from APHA Bury St Edmunds. No chargeable diagnostic testing will be performed on these samples.

It is worth noting that if samples are submitted to APHA from pigs with diarrhoea for chargeable diagnostic testing, this PEDv PCR will be performed anyway and it is not necessary to send additional samples to Weybridge – the above testing is for outbreaks where no diagnostic testing at APHA is being undertaken.

Typically, virulent porcine epidemic diarrhoea (PED) occurs as an explosive outbreak of rapidly spreading diarrhoea with reduced appetite and lethargy, sometimes with vomiting, affecting all ages of pig and often causing high mortality (30-100%) in sucking (preweaned) piglets in litters from all parities of sow.

Additional points to note: The diarrhoea may be watery and piglets rapidly dehydrate. Piglets may be found dead before diarrhoea is noticed especially on outdoor units. High mortality in sucking pigs would be an early signal of virulent PED but the diarrhoea may resemble other causes of enteric disease in older pigs. Diarrhoea due to virulent PEDv in weaned and older pigs is transient and pigs recover but intercurrent infections such as salmonellosis could mean that more prolonged diarrhoea or deaths are seen in growing pigs. A poor response to antimicrobial treatment would be expected in preweaned piglets.

If you have any queries about this testing please contact one of the following:

Susanna Williamson 01284 724499
Cornelia Bidewell 01284 724499
Alan Wight 01626 891121

Published: 13 October 2014