Pig farming

Can Pigs get Coronavirus?

The fear about coronavirus is spreading around the world faster than the virus itself. But did you know that you possibly have coronavirus on your pig farm right now? No need to panic, these are porcine coronaviruses that can’t infect humans, but they can cause some nasty diseases in pigs.

One of the porcine coronaviruses that you will definitely have heard of is the dreaded porcine epidemic diarrhoea (PED). PED is still causing problems in North America and Asia and, although it has been replaced by ASF as the “headline disease”, it still poses a significant risk to the UK pig industry, and it is notifiable. Transmissible gastroenteritis (TGE) is another coronavirus which causes diarrhoea in piglets, it’s now quite rare in the UK, but it caused widespread problems and high mortality across the UK in the 1980’s. The reason we now rarely see TGE is the next coronavirus on our list: porcine respiratory coronavirus (PRC). PRC causes a very mild respiratory disease in pigs, in fact you will probably see no clinical signs at all, but because it’s a very similar virus to TGE the antibodies created by the pig when it is exposed to PRC protect it from TGE infection. Essentially exposure to PRC “vaccinates” the pig against TGE! The fourth coronavirus is Hemagglutinating encephalomyelitis virus (HEV) also known as vomiting and wasting disease, this is not often seen as clinical disease.

So unlike Covid-19 in people, coronavirus in pigs is unlikely to cause respiratory disease, but we should always be on the look out for it causing diarrhoea in our pigs!

For further information please contact please contact Zoetis UK Limited, First Floor, Birchwood Building, Springfield Drive, Leatherhead KT22 7LP. www.zoetis.co.uk. Customer Support: 0845 300 8034. Use medicines responsibly (www.noah.co.uk/responsible). Date of preparation: February 2020. MM-08441