Pigs and COVID-19: What you need to know

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Information from the team at the Prairie Swine Health Services.

What species are linked to COVID-19?

  • The exact source of COVID-19 has not been fully proven.
  • There is some evidence that it may have resulted from the combination of a coronavirus from a bat and a coronavirus from a pangolin, which was then able to infect humans.

What is the difference in a coronavirus and COVID-19?

  • Coronaviruses are a FAMILY of many different viruses that look that same structurally.
  • COVID-19 is a specific strain from this family.
  • There are many strains within the family, and specific strains do specific things to specific species.
  • COVID-19 is a coronavirus and is different from those that affect pigs.

Can pigs get coronaviruses?

  • Yes, they have specific swine coronaviruses including
    • Porcine epidemic diarrhea virus (PEDV)
    • Transmissible, gastroenteritis virus (TGEV)
    • Porcine respiratory coronavirus (PRCV).
    • Porcine hemagglutinating encephalomyelitis virus (PHEV)
    • Porcine Deltacoronavirus (PDCoV)

Can pigs get COVID-19?

  • Previous research showed that pigs can mount an immune response to human coronaviruses and a recent study found that pigs, ferrets, cats, and monkeys have receptors that may be able to attach to COVID-19.
  • However, no evidence of disease has been seen in any of these species, including pigs. There is also no evidence that any other species can spread COVID-19.

How do I keep myself safe in the barn?

Even though COVID-19 is not a health concern for pigs, excellent biosecurity practices to minimize exposure of pigs to human diseases should be a priority as usual. It is important to wear masks and gloves in the barn, wash hands frequently (for at least 20 seconds), and limit barn visitors to healthy individuals (nobody with a fever, cough, etc.).

Have more questions? Reach out to the Prairie Swine Health Services team

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