Seneca virus is relatively manageable, but its symptoms are similar to foot and mouth disease which triggers alarm bells for the livestock industry and results in trading bans.
Dee’s confirmation came after a feed company contacted him because it was concerned that soybean meal it imported was resulting in Seneca-virus outbreaks in customers’ herds.
Then the country’s watchdogs asked Dee to tell them about his findings and it resulted in a ban on soybean meal imports from the supplier in a country where Seneca virus is prevalent.
“This is one of the biggest pieces of news the pork industry has had in regard to disease control in many years,” said Dee who is director of research at Pipestone Applied Research.
Although a great amount of laboratory work has proven over and over again that viruses, including SVA, can survive well in feed, researchers have never had a real-world case where they could come to a strong conclusion that a new virus entered a country through feed imports, Dee said.
“This is a wake-up call big time,” Dee says. “It turned out to be SVA – which isn’t that hard to deal with – but it easily could have been foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) or African swine fever (ASF). This country got lucky it was ‘only’ SVA and not one of the real bad boys.”