Reuters News reported on an incidence of re-infection with the porcine epidemic diarrhea virus (PEDV) on an Indiana farm this spring. Matt Ackerman, DVM, a southeastern Indiana swine veterinarian, spoke to Reuters on behalf of his clients who own the farm that experienced the re-break. Ackerman said that the same strain of PEDV hit the farm in May 2013, and again in March 2014. Jittery pork producers had been talking about rumored re-breaks throughout the winter and spring. Ackerman’s announcement is said to be the first public confirmation of a farm’s experiences with a re-infection that occurred in spite of strict biosecurity and sanitation protocols.

The outbreak was not as deadly to piglets the second time around, with a 30% death rate on the second outbreak compared to 100% piglet mortality with the first PEDV infection, according to Ackerman.

An American Association of Swine Veterinarians (AASV) spokesman told Reuters that PEDV outbreaks tend to recur in about 30% of infected farms.

Reuters reports, “The state and federal effort to stamp out PEDV has operated on an assumption that a pig, once infected, develops immunity and will not be afflicted by the disease again for at least several years. Likewise, farms that had endured the disease were not known to suffer secondary outbreaks. But a year after the virus was identified, repeat outbreaks have occurred at farms but not been publicly confirmed before now. These so-called secondary outbreaks are a challenge to efforts to stem the disease, which is almost always fatal to baby piglets.”

Read more about the realization that immunity to PEDV does not appear to be long-lived.