Veterinarians eager to trace source of sick pigs

Sick-looking pigs at a site in western Manitoba spurred the discovery of the province’s second case of porcine epidemic diarrhea virus, says chief veterinary officer Glen Duizer.


“We found sick pigs at the high-traffic site,” he said.


Duizer would not say if pigs from that site had gone to other locations, what the nature of the site was or if pigs from other provinces were affected.


“We’re still following up. We still have some trace back … to do.”


Duizer said other governments’ veterinary authorities will make the information public if farms from other provinces are implicated.


Saskatchewan chief veterinary officer Betty Althouse said Saskatchewan pigs have been identified at the facility, but few details are known.


“We do know that there were cull animals from Saskatchewan (that) had been delivered there, but we don’t know what specific herds,” said Althouse.


Authorities suspect that the sick pigs were infected at that site rather than being infected on a farm. 


A news release from Duizer’s office said the high-traffic facility is co-operating with authorities and ensuring it does not transmit the disease elsewhere.


The operator of the facility noticed the ill-looking animals and reported them to Duizer’s office.


A high traffic facility could be an assembly yard, an abattoir, a truck wash station or other facility through which livestock trailers pass.


Manitoba recognized its first PED infection on a farm in southeastern Manitoba in February, and since then two high traffic facilities have produced positive environmental samples. Duizer’s office does not believe those three situations are connected to the new case.


A province-wide surveillance program is checking all significant non-farm pig facilities for PED. 


“We’re not surprised (with the new finding),” said one industry source. 


The disease is widespread in U.S. states directly south of Manitoba, with much pig truck flow between the areas, so its appearance has been expected.


Authorities are shy about releasing specific details about PED sites so that farmers and others will remain willing participants in reporting outbreaks and suspicions and allowing sampling and testing.


Althouse said the new Manitoba case, this time where many pigs pass through, should remind farmers to stay committed to controlling their risks and watching closely for infection.


“In general, anyone that’s delivering to a commingling site, where other hogs from other sites are, should really consider the site contaminated with PED and take the appropriate biosecurity measures,” said Althouse.


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  1. Manitoba not worried over deadly hog virus. No Reason To Panic, we are told. Wpg.Free Press. 27 Jan. That’s quite a frivolous statement from the Manitoba Pork Council.(MPC) for something so very serious for those producers raising hogs.One has to wonder if this strain,as with the virus H1N1 (swine flu), could somehow be related and encouraged by the captive raising of hogs in the factory style of operations.? Should that not be a consideration, of how animals are being produced? (fresh air to breathe, exercise, enjoying the light of day, and not inhaling the concentrated fumes of their bodily deposits from the pits beneath) Being evermore vigilant, as expressed by MPC general manager is a pretty standard response. However,sooner or later this virus, even without a passport, will circumvent the Canada /US border and even all the home bio-security measures to eventually end up on Manitoba’s doorstep. It’s only a matter of Time. And now we know “The Rest of the Story” !

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