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ISU develops test for Japanese encephalitis virus

AMES, Iowa – When porcine epidemic diarrhea virus struck U.S. pig herds in 2013, the Iowa State University Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory – which carries the nation’s largest swine caseload – scrambled to design a high-capacity test to keep up with the outbreak. 

The experience of responding to PEDV had a lasting impact, said Dr. Phillip Gauger, who leads the VDL’s molecular testing unit. It’s part of the reason VDL researchers have developed a diagnostic test for swine to detect Japanese encephalitis virus, a mosquito-borne disease common in southeast Asia that hasn’t been seen in the U.S.

“With PEDV, we had to play a little catch-up to manage the large caseload. That’s not to say that will happen with JEV, but because of our experience with PEDV and knowing the U.S. swine industry is always at risk for emerging or transboundary viruses, we want to be prepared,” said Gauger, a professor of veterinary diagnostic and production animal medicine.

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Originally published by Iowa State University News Service in June 2024. 

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