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April 8, 2014

~ First case of Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea Virus (PEDV) just reported in Virginia ~
Contact: Elaine Lidholm, 804.786.7686

Dr. Richard Wilkes, State Veterinarian with the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (VDACS), announced today that Virginia has just received laboratory confirmation of its first case of Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea (PED). In light of this case, which coincides with the beginning of the exhibit season for 4-H members, FFA students and other livestock exhibitors, Dr. Wilkes says strict biosecurity is the most effective and most practical way to prevent the spread of PED and many other livestock and poultry diseases. 

Wilkes encourages every person involved in showing livestock to enhance their biosecurity efforts. “We always urge livestock owners who show animals and managers of show and exhibition facilities to keep biosecurity uppermost in their minds,” Wilkes said, “but with swine, it is even more important now that Virginia has experienced its first case of PED. Good biosecurity can help keep the disease from spreading.”

Anytime animals are co-mingled at events, there is a risk they may be exposed to an infectious disease agent. Some states have cancelled pre-show weigh-ins or other animal commingling events to try to prevent PED infection of swine. Virginia show managers may want to consider voluntarily cancelling some of the higher risk activities.

The PED virus is highly contagious, and commonly spreads through pig manure. Consuming pork continues to be safe and the disease does not affect humans, but is often deadly to piglets. Practicing and implementing sound biosecurity measures is critical in keeping the state’s animals disease free and marketable.

Equine Herpes Virus is another highly contagious disease that has caused disease and death at multiple equine events across the country recently.

Wilkes says that good biosecurity and advance planning will reduce the chances of spreading an infectious disease by people, animals, shoes and clothing or equipment. Show managers should have a proper biosecurity plan ready to execute in the event that an animal disease is introduced at a major stock show or event.

VDACS offers the following guidelines to help minimize risk at events where animals co-mingle.  Note that these general recommendations also apply to diseases that can be spread between humans and animals.

Biosecurity for animal exhibitors:

Biosecurity for event organizers:

Biosecurity when visiting an animal exhibit such as a fair or petting zoo:

"Livestock exhibitions are an enriching and rewarding experience for our youth," said Dr. Wilkes. "Implementing simple biosecurity measures to prevent disease spread and having an established plan of action to address disease outbreaks if they occur protects that experience for exhibitors and event managers alike." 

For more information about biosecurity measures and plans, contact the State Veterinarian’s Office at 804.692.0601 or your local Office of Veterinary Services at the Regional Animal Health Diagnostic Laboratory in your area. See the Laboratory Services section for local numbers.

For more information on PEDV biosecurity, click here and here.

VDACS posts all of its news releases on Facebook and Twitter. To receive immediate updates, follow us on Twitter @VaAgriculture or like us on

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