Porcine epidemic diarrhoea: how to spot and report the disease

Advice on what to do if you suspect there is an outbreak of this infectious disease.    

Porcine Epidemic Diarrhoea (PED) is caused by a virus and leads to severe gastrointestinal disease in pigs. PED can cause high mortality in piglets, and loss of growth rates and reproductive performance in older pigs, therefore significantly reducing herd productivity, health and welfare.

There is no risk to human health from PED.


Latest situation: the disease was last confirmed in Great Britain in 2002.

Clinical signs

PED is signified by a severe outbreak of rapidly spreading diarrhoea. Symptoms include:

  • the diarrhoea is watery and whole litters of piglets rapidly dehydrate and die
  • high mortality (up to 100%) in suckling (pre-weaned) piglets from all parities of sow
  • reduced appetite, lethargy and vomiting, affecting all ages of pigs
  • on outdoor units piglets could be found dead before diarrhoea is noticed
  • on finisher-only sites, the diarrhoea occurs as an obvious sudden outbreak, also causing vomiting and reduced appetite, but few or no deaths

The arrangements for reporting PED are different to those for other notifiable diseases. Suspicions of PED must be reported to the Scottish Pig Disease Control Centre (telephone 01466 705247) who will provide advice. There will be no mandatory restrictions or culling if PED is suspected or confirmed.

How porcine epidemic diarrhoea is spread

PED is highly infectious and is spread through contact with infected pigs or material. Widespread transmission can be prevented through the control of pig movements and high standards of biosecurity, particularly thorough cleansing and disinfection of premises, vehicles, people’s clothing and equipment.

Human health implications

There are no human health implications because the disease is not zoonotic.

Disease control

If the disease is confirmed the outbreak will be controlled in line with the contingency plan for exotic notifiable diseases.


The Specified Diseases (Notification) Amendment (Scotland) Order 2016


Biosecurity is about being aware of the ways disease can spread and taking every practical measure to minimise the risk of disease spreading. The advice details practical things you can do on your farm to help prevent the introduction and spread of porcine epidemic diarrhoea to and from your animals.

The Scottish Government, Scotland's Rural College (SRUC) and Quality Meat Scotland have produced a set of leaflets providing practical advice for pig keepers to prevent disease on their premises.


If you suspect signs of any notifiable diseases, you must immediately notify your Scotland: field service local office at the Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA). Failure to do so is an offence.

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