Blogger Mike Brumm of Brumm Swine Consultancy at North Mankato, MN, says the biggest question he heard from a recent sow farm struck by porcine epidemic diarrhea virus (PEDV) was when can we start keeping pigs alive? Brumm visited to assess ventilation settings and gilt development unit options.

Brumm says, “When these extreme outbreaks hit a production unit, it is very tough on the employees. They are hired and rewarded based on their skills at keeping pigs alive. It really bothers them when you have to say based on current information there are not a lot of good options available to save piglets born in the first 1-3 weeks of a PEDV outbreak.”

He explains that once feedback of the virus has been done to all females in the unit, it still takes 2-3 weeks for the sows to have immunity to transfer to suckling piglets. “Until this immunity develops, those pigs that are born have almost no chance of survival given the extreme pathogenesis of the virus and the ability of the virus to survive outside of the pig.”

In his Dec. 31 blog, "Brumm Speaks Out," at the Minnesota Pork Producers Association website (www.mnpork.com), Brumm also talks about stepping up his biosecurity protocols.

“While the sow unit was shower-in/out, I have stepped up my biosecurity for all sites I am now visiting. I now routinely put on disposable boots at a site before my shoes touch the ground at the site. I don’t want my shoes/boots to be the transfer point for the virus to a production site. When I get back into my truck I remove the disposables before my feet enter the truck – I don’t want to end up with my truck being contaminated and a potential source of recurring infection for sites I routinely visit.”

Brumm challenges producers to do more with biosecurity. “With PEDV now firmly entrenched in southern Minnesota and northern Iowa, what are you doing to reduce the risk of it being transferred to your site?

“Have you modified your loadout areas so truckers don’t have to enter the chute and truck by walking through your barn/office? Do you have clear biosecurity line for pig movement to prevent it being carried back into a barn by a stray pig?

“What about your entry points to your facilities?”

Brumm encourages production sites to consider installation of a bench entry. “This physical barrier keeps street shoes from being the carrier of PEDV (and other possible diseases) into a facility. Do visitors to your site take precautions such as plastic boots over their street shoes when then enter your site?”

He concludes: “The best comment I’ve heard on biosecurity was a statement by Dr Terri Specht, a veterinarian from Ohio who said – “If biosecurity doesn’t inconvenience you – you aren’t doing it right”. Are you being inconvenienced by your daily biosecurity routines?”