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Pig virology
Emergence of severe porcine epidemic diarrhoea in pigs in the USA
  1. Susanna Williamson1,
  2. Ben Strugnell2,
  3. Jill Thomson3,
  4. Grace Webster4,
  5. Steven McOrist5 and
  6. Helen Clarke6
  1. 1AHVLA/SAC Pig Expert Group, AHVLA – Bury St Edmunds, Rougham Hill, Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk IP33 2RX
  2. 2AHVLA/SAC Pig Expert Group, AHVLA – Thirsk, West House, Station Road,Thirsk, North Yorkshire
    YO7 1PZ
  3. 3AHVLA/SAC Pig Expert Group, SAC (Consulting) Veterinary Services, Edinburgh Disease Surveillance Centre, Allan Watt Building, Bush Estate, Penicuik, Midlothian EH26 0QE
  4. 4President, Pig Veterinary Society, G. W. Pig Consultants, 4 Gownor Steading, Oldmeldrum, Aberdeenshire AB51 0DL
  5. 5Senior Vice-President, Pig Veterinary Society, Leslie Place, Edinburgh EH4 1 NF
  6. 6BPEX Division, AHDB, Stoneleigh Park, Kenilworth, Warwickshire CV8 2TL
  1. e-mail: susanna.williamson{at}

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PORCINE epidemic diarrhoea (PED) virus is of current concern to the UK pig industry due to recent reports of severe disease outbreaks in the USA. This follows significant PED outbreaks in Korea in the 1990s, which subsequently spread across east and south-east Asia. A more recent rise in PED outbreaks across this region, since 2008, is attributed to new PED virus strains emerging in China, then Vietnam and Thailand, and is causing major disruption to Asian pig production. The recent intercontinental shift of these novel strains to the USA has caused further concern about the highly transportable nature of PED virus and the threat it poses to British pigs. The first case of PED in the USA was confirmed on May 16, and by July 27, just over 10 weeks later, 403 cases had been reported from 16 states through the USDA APHIS VS NVSL National Animal Health Laboratory Network.

This letter aims to raise awareness among British veterinary practitioners attending pigs about PED virus, its recent epidemiological movements and measures that their pig producer clients can take to limit the risk of virus incursion. It is important to note that PED is not a notifiable disease and is not zoonotic.

Defra has published a preliminary outbreak assessment on PED (, reviewing potential routes of incursion of PED virus from China and the USA. PED is transmitted through the faeco-oral route by contact …

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