The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has released a gains report which talks about Porcine Epidemic Diarrhoea having been present in Ukraine – possibly even as early as spring 2014.
The report was written by the Foreign Agricultural Service, a part of the USDA, located in Ukraine's capital Kyiv. The report states: "According to Ukrainian swine industry groups, several Porcine Epidemic Diarrhoea (PED) cases were registered in different regions of Ukraine since spring of 2014. However, when Ukraine's Veterinary and Phytosanitary Service (VS) was contacted by the US Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) in Kyiv they claimed the disease is not registered in the country."
The report continues to say: "It should be noted that the disease is not the OIE list of reportable disease which may be influencing VS' position on acknowledging the PED epidemic."
In the report, the FAS in Kyiv says it has been in contact with the largest swine producer association, the Swine Breeders of Ukraine (SB). The report mentions that SB members would have reported three to four cases of PED in 2014.
The report states: "Additional cases are known in non-member farms. Swine farmers in Ukraine are on alert, and as a result, have reportedly increased biosecurity practices as a preventive measure. Special attention has been paid to disinfecting trucks and tightening critical inspection points such as entry ways/exits."
FAS reports that, according to internet sources, the disease spread in Ukraine accelerated in November/December 2014. Most of the comments on Ukraine's situation are provided by renowned international veterinarian consultant to the animal production industry: Dr John Carr – considered one of the world's experts on the PED virus.
The reports points to an interview of Carr by Harry Siemens, blogger and contributor of Pig Progress, stating: "According to Carr, even though Ukraine is not a major producer or exporter of pork products, a PED virus outbreak in several sow farms in Ukraine could lead to the deaths of 30 to 35 million pigs in Europe, and have a major impact on global pig production numbers."
The report tells how in the spring of 2014, Carr was invited to Ukraine by SB, but later continued his private consultancy practice on individual infected farms. In November, Carr spent ten days in Ukraine visiting three farms with PED outbreaks. The report quotes Carr saying "still struggling to get [it] (the virus) typed because the Ukraine doesn't have the technology and obviously the people in Ukraine have some slightly other issues to worry about'," when he told Siemens: "Normally, I'd send my samples to Russia but they aren't quite talking to me at the moment either, making this situation a bit awkward."
The report also states that John Carr has dealt with PED outbreaks in different parts of the world for over 20 years and has experience spotting the virus as early as 1972. According to Carr, the PED virus types found in Ukraine are alike those found in China (since 2010) and the United States (since 2013), but different from earlier EU cases. Carr has warned that he 'suspect(s) this is the beginning of the European outbreak'. He has also warned that his professional estimation is that the PED virus will kill 25 to 35 million pigs over the next 18 months.