Hog farmers have a new test that may help in the fight against a deadly and rapidly spreading pig disease.
University of Minnesota researchers have developed a test that will tell whether a hog has been exposed to the porcine epidemic diarrhea virus and if it can fight off the disease.
"In the swine industry today pigs are moved around quite a bit," said Michael Murtaugh, a professor of molecular biology in U of M's Veterinary and Biomedical Sciences department. "So if you're accepting pigs onto your farm, you want to know if they are susceptible to infection or if they have immunity and resistance. And so this test can differentiate those two conditions."
That's important to know, especially with sows. If the mother pig has been exposed, it's likely developed immunity to the disease, immunity it passes to its piglets, which are most vulnerable to the virus in the first weeks of life.
Michael Brumm, a North Mankato-based consultant for hog farmers, said the test is a step ahead for hog producers battling the disease.
"This test gives us another tool as we fight the spread of this virus," he said.
The university also has developed a test which will determine if a pig has an active infection of the disease.
About 300 hog herds in the state have been hit by the virus. An individual farm hit with the virus may lose about 10 percent of the pig production expected for the year.