Evidence is growing that this year’s Porcine Epidemic Diarrhoea (PED) virus outbreak in the United States originated in China, recent research shows.
The virus, affecting mostly young piglets, likely originated in the country's Anhui province, right west of Shanghai. It may have evolved from a virus seen in bats, according to a recent publication by a colloquium of researchers in the United States, the United Kingdom and China.
Press agency Reuters reported that earlier, investigators and veterinary researchers already pointed to China, having disclosed a 99.5% similarity to PED virus identified in the Asian country. Exactly where in China it came from was still a mystery.
published in the American Academy of Microbiology journal mBio explains how the researchers extracted strains of PEDv virus from infected animals in Minnesota and Iowa.
They then compared the genetic code of the virus in these samples to PEDv samples isolated in Anhui province during an outbreak of the disease in late 2010.
"The three emergent US strains are most closely related to a strain isolated in 2012 from Anhui Province in China, which might be the result of multiple recombination events between different genetic lineages or sublineages of PEDv," according to the report.
The report continues, "Molecular clock analysis of the divergent time based on the complete genomic sequences is consistent with the actual time difference, approximately two to three years, of the PED outbreaks between China (December 2010) and the United States (May 2013)."
Reuters states that early October, 768 confirmed cases of PED have been reported in 18 states throughout the United States. Each reported case could represent thousands of infected animals. First apparently affecting Mid-West farms, now PEDv is also confirmed at about 250 farms in North Carolina.
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