Saskatchewan has now officially had a close encounter of the third kind with the porcine epidemic diarrhea virus (PEDv) — but not in hogs.
Saskatchewan’s chief veterinary officer Dr. Betty Althouse on Friday reported a confirmed “positive environmental sample” of both PEDv and transmissible gastroenteritis (TGE) in a livestock trailer returning to the province from the U.S. on Feb. 20.
The sample was found, however, only on a pair of “dirty boots” in a plastic storage tub at the back of the trailer. The boots had been worn during unloading of animals at a slaughter plant in Iowa, Althouse’s office said.
“The boots and container should have been washed and disinfected, along with the trailer, but were not,” Althouse’s office said, noting pooled samples collected from the cleaned trailer were negative.
The finding “highlights the need for cleaning crews, transporters, sanitation auditors and farms to be sure to clean and inspect all areas of the trailer, storage bays, truck cab, boots, clothing and storage containers during the sanitizing process prior to loading the next load of hogs.”
The samples from the boots were confirmed PEDv-positive at Winnipeg’s National Centre for Foreign Animal Disease last Wednesday (Feb. 26).
Genetic sequencing, Althouse noted, shows the PEDv isolated in this case is related to others from Iowa — and is “distinct” from the PEDv found on farms in southern Ontario over the past two months.
Of the 26 U.S. states now confirmed to have at least one hog operation infected with PEDv, Iowa is by far the hardest hit, reporting the virus on 1,356 farms as of Feb. 26, according to the U.S. National Animal Health Laboratory Network (NAHLN).
Confirmed cases of PEDv on Canadian hog farms remain relatively limited, with 24 in southern Ontario and one each in Manitoba, Quebec and Prince Edward Island.
Ontario’s most recent case was confirmed Friday on a farrow-to-finish operation in Oxford County.
PEDv causes diarrhea, vomiting and dehydration in hogs and is generally fatal in very young piglets, while older animals usually recover. Mortality rates of up to 100 per cent have been reported in young piglets on infected farrowing operations.
The virus is not considered a risk to food safety, nor to the health of humans or other animals. — AGCanada.com Network