PEDV reported in Canada

Curious PigsCanada’s first cases of a deadly swine virus have been reported in Ontario.

Although porcine epidemic diarrhea virus (PEDV) isn’t transmissible to humans and doesn’t affect food safety, it does cause high mortality rates among infected pigs. The virus is endemic in other areas of the world and was first reported in the U.S. last May. Since then, it has spread to at least 20 states, according to a Jan. 15 update from Pork Checkoff. More than 1 million pigs in the U.S. have died from the virus, according to reports.

Canadian officials currently are investigating the Ontario case and have yet to pinpoint the source of the virus as the farm had followed strict biosecurity protocols. These procedures are considered the best defense against the spread of the virus. Piglets are especially susceptible to PEDV, with mortality reaching close to 100 percent.

Biosecurity includes proper cleaning and disinfection, limiting the number of people that have access to the pigs and preventing cross-contamination, controlling pests, and quarantining new animals. Animal health and industry officials have stressed the importance of a rigorous biosecurity program to prevent PEDV from spreading.

“Ontario Pork is working closely with provincial and federal levels of government to ensure that the farm identified has the necessary support and resources to deal with this disease and contain it,” said Amy Cronin, the chair of Ontario Pork, which represents 1,600 swine farmers in the province. “All Ontario and Canadian swine farms are extremely vulnerable to this disease and we would urge all producers to immediately review and strengthen their existing biosecurity and disinfection protocols. We will continue to monitor the situation and update our producers when more information becomes available.”

The disease was first reported in the United Kingdom in 1971. It has been found in the several other countries in Europe and Asia. Pigs infected with PEDV, which is transmitted through a fecal-oral route or via fomites in the pigs’ environment (e.g., boots, brushes, buckets, etc.), may show varying symptoms, including diarrhea, vomiting and dehydration. Recovery, if possible, can take a week to 10 days.

For more information on PEDV from Neogen’s blog, click here.

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