Researchers Assess Risk of FMD Exposure From Infected Imported Feed

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Farmscape for September 21, 2021

Full Interview 12:10 Listen

Research conducted on behalf of the Swine Health Information Center has shown the virus responsible for foot and mouth disease is capable of surviving long enough in feed transported from overseas to infect pigs in North America. The USDA Agricultural Research Service’s Foreign Animal Disease Diagnostic Lab on Plumb Island has completed a study of the risk and mitigation of Foot and Mouth Disease Virus in feed. The work was an extension of previous feed research that looked at whether PED and other viruses could survive long enough in feed ingredients transported from Asia or eastern Europe to infect pigs in North America. Swine Health Information Center Executive Director Dr. Paul Sundberg says the question was can foot and mouth disease survive international transport and infect pigs.

Clip-Dr. Paul Sundberg-Swine Health Information Center:
First of all, they found that foot and mouth disease could remain viable in contaminated feed products for as many as 37 days. Those are primarily in soybean meal products again, just like we found with other viruses, with ASF and other viruses. It seems that soybean meals have the ability to protect viruses rather than just simply transport them. It actually acts as a protector and, in some way prevents the virus from degrading. 37 days is what they found that we could get infectable foot and mouth disease virus and that is well within the variability of what international transport could be so, at that, it is a risk of importing foot and mouth disease virus in certain feed products. They did find variation among the strains of foot and mouth disease that they tested.

One strain was much more hardy than the other strain. Another strain was much more labile and degraded more quickly so there is an issue of strain variation.

Dr. Sundberg notes this variation doesn’t decrease the risk because there are strains that can infect.

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