Porcine epidemic diarrhea virus is probably a permanent disease in Ontario now that there have been five confirmed cases as of Feb. 2, say swine veterinarians.
“PED is now endemic in the U.S.A. It is here to stay. I am wondering if Ontario is approaching that point,” Alberta provincial swine specialist Julia Kleenliside said in a Jan. 31 teleconference call.
“It is a risk that is here to stay so biosecurity must be for the long term because PED is not going to disappear,” she said.
One case was found in Middlesex Country, one in Norfolk County, one in Simcoe County and two in Chatham-Kent as of Jan. 31. All are located along Lake Erie.
The potentially fatal virus has no cure and has also been found at a pig assembly yard, three trucking operations and a processor. Three of the infected farms are connected to one assembly yard.
Quebec found samples at an Olymel plant that traced back to one of the Ontario farms.
The five farms have voluntarily stopped all movement and are working with the province and processors to decide how to ship contaminated animals and keep the virus from spreading further.
No disease has been found in Western Canada, but starting Feb. 3, provincial and private veterinarians were to begin taking samples at assembly yards and slaughter plants.
PED and a similar condition, transmissible gastroenteritis (TGE), are reportable diseases in Alberta.
No compensation is paid directly for dead pigs or other associated losses. Assistance will come from AgriStability to cover loss of income, and Growing Forward 2 can fund improved biosecurity measures.
Moving western feeder cattle to Ontario is an area of concern.
Trailers are scraped out after unloading but may not be washed. The trucker may then pick up cull sows in Ontario and deliver them to U.S. processors, where there is PED contamination. That truck may or may not be scraped and washed before it comes back west.
“These transporters are unquestionably coming into contact with PED virus at multiple points and present a very real risk to the Canadian swine herd,” said swine veterinarian Egan Brockhoff of Prairie Swine Health Services in Red Deer.