PEDv cases in Manitoba raise alarms

Earlier this year, the province of Manitoba in Canada began dealing with an unexpected increase of cases of porcine epidemic diarrhea virus (PEDv).

PEDv, which causes diarrhea and dehydration in pigs, causes up to 100% mortality in piglets and 100% morbidity (disease) in all pigs, though is not transmitted to humans or other animals.

The number of cases in Manitoba this spring alone matched the total number of cases of the previous three years combined, reports CBC News.

Manitoba is the country’s biggest producer of piglets and feeder pigs, exporting around 1.8 million feeder pigs to the U.S. in the first five months of 2017. Canada exports more swine than any country in the world.

“Additionally, this does have a food safety impact because if piglets die or growing pigs become infected with PEDv, it ultimately disrupts the supply of safe, high quality pork nationally as well as globally,” said Neogen’s Anna McGeehan. “Simply put, if piglets die, we have a reduction in the pig crop. If older pigs become infected, it takes more time for them to reach optimal market weight, which means more time and money spent growing them out, eventually increasing the price of pork for the consumer.”

The Canadian farms currently seeing an increase in cases are located mainly in the southeastern parts of the province, and it is still unclear how they are spreading.

How do you stop the spread of PEDv?

Barn loadouts are a key area for improved biosecurity to prevent PEDv from spreading.

National Hog Farmer lists several best practices for keeping barns free of contamination:

  • In loadouts, positive pressure should be maintained to keep outside air from being sucked into the barn.
  • Staff should be careful of tracking possible contaminants into the barn from the loadout area.
  • Equipment that cleans loadouts, including hoses, pressure washers and wands, should not be returned to the barn.
  • Staff should change their boots and coveralls before returning to the barn.

Transport creates some of the highest risks for disease spread. Biosecurity expert Dr. Andrea Pitkin of PIC partnered with Neogen to produce a video on the proper cleaning, disinfecting and drying that must take place before livestock enter a trailer.

“When cleaning, you want to pay special attention to making sure you get behind the hinges, in the doors — any nooks or crannies that the organic material can hide in,” said Pitkin. Dirt stuck in tire treads are also identified as an area of concern, as are cab areas.

Though it’s currently summer in Manitoba, viruses like PEDv thrive in the winter, so it’s important to be careful when temperatures drop.

“Viruses love cold weather. They can survive for months — even years — when frozen,” said Pitkin. “So it’s really important during the winter months to make sure you get all the snow and ice out of your trailer, because that can be a harboring zone for viruses especially.”

Disinfecting with a powerful disinfectant is the step that truly kills pathogens. It’s important not to over-dilute your disinfectant. No more than 1 ounce per gallon should be mixed for application to a wet surface.

“If we over-dilute, there’s not going to be enough disinfectant applied, and it’s not going to get an adequate kill of the viruses and bacteria that are there,” said Pitkin. “We don’t want to over-mix, either, because if animals get exposed to a disinfectant, that can be harmful to them.”

High temperature drying bays can be effective in killing off the rest of the viral or bacterial particles that may remain.

Neogen offers products that can play an essential role in any biosecurity program, including disinfectants, cleaners, personal protective equipment and more. Click here for more information.

Biosecurity training can be implemented and verified with the online learning management software at the Pork Avenue Training Portal, along with over 80 other production topics.

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