PEDv suspected on Manitoba hog farm

Newborn piglets under four weeks of age are considered to be at the greatest risk from the PED virus. (Laura Rance photo)

Winnipeg’s National Centre for Foreign Animal Disease is testing samples from a Manitoba wean-to-finish hog operation suspected of having the province’s first case of porcine epidemic diarrhea virus (PEDv).

The Manitoba Pork Council late Thursday announced that the province’s chief veterinary officer had reported what are believed to be positive samples of PEDv from hogs on the farm and sent the samples to the Winnipeg lab for confirmation.

MPC, which represents the province’s 500 hog producers, is now “following a response plan we had in place in collaboration with the CVO,” council chairman Karl Kynoch said in a release. [Related story]

Kynoch didn’t identify the farm’s home municipality, but said the site “has been contained and neighbours in the area are being contacted by veterinarians.

“I commend the producer for cooperating with the CVO and the attending veterinarian,” Kynoch added. “All steps are being taken to contain the virus on the farm and an investigation has been initiated.”

PEDv is a highly contagious coronavirus causing diarrhea, vomiting and dehydration in affected hogs. The virus is not a human health risk, nor is it a risk to food safety.

MPC didn’t mention Thursday whether the farm in question had reported any hog deaths, which can occur in up to 100 per cent of PEDv-infected newborn or very young piglets in affected farrowing barns. Mortalities are less common in weanling or finishing barns, where older infected animals usually recover.

It’s “crucial” for producers to maintain strict biosecurity protocols and contact a veterinarian immediately if they see animals showing signs of illness, MPC said Thursday.

“Strict biosecurity practices can reduce the potential for outbreaks,” said Kynoch, a producer at Baldur, Man. “All trucks and trailers coming onto your site must be properly washed and disinfected. It is your responsibility to make sure that all trailers are clean before they back up to your barn.”

The virus turned up for the first time in Canada last month and has been confirmed now on 13 hog farms in southwestern Ontario. The most recent cases in that province were confirmed Tuesday on a wean-to-finish operation in Lambton County and Wednesday on a farrow-to-finish operation in Oxford County.

But PEDv, which until last year had been seen only in Europe and Asia, arrived in the U.S. last April and has since killed anywhere between one million and four million U.S. hogs in 23 states. The virus has since been confirmed on hog farms in border states including Montana and Minnesota.

“Since the virus has broken out in Ontario, it has really come to the attention of producers,” Kynoch said at an MPC town-hall meeting last month. “But Ontario is a 24-hour drive away; we’ve got to remember that this virus is only five hours away in Minnesota.”

Kynoch last month urged the industry to work together the fight the virus. If a neighbour’s farm does get infected, he emphasized, “they are not the enemy.” — Network

About the author



Stories from our other publications