Porcine epidemic diarrhea has spread to the west side of the Red River in Manitoba for the first time.
However, it has just barely crossed and the Manitoba Agriculture veterinarian overseeing control efforts thinks there is no reason it can’t be contained to that one tiny beachhead.
However, a risky time is approaching for many hog farmers who have had infected herds but will soon need to move market hogs.
“There will be scenarios where pigs from infected premises will have to go to non-infected premises for finishing,” Glen Duizer said last week in a conference call “town hall” with Alberta hog farmers.
However, those pigs will be moving mostly within farmers’ operations: from their sow and nursery barns to finishing barns and staying within the already-infected regions.
PED infections have now been found in 59 Manitoba sites, al-though no news ones had been found in the week of July 19, which was a relief after the 16 found two weeks previously.
With new infections dropping from 16 to four to zero, Duizer said officials are hopeful the peak of the epidemic is past and that control methods are working.
The new outbreak zone is west of the Red River, in the Altona-Gretna area, and there are only two other hog farms near the one discovered to be infected with the virus.
The five kilometre special control zone around that farm, bringing with it special biosafety control measures, should be enough to stop it being the source of problems for other farms, Duizer said.
A multitude of measures are being used to control the infection. Dead stock are being buried on-farm or transported to a landfill rather than being rendered.
Control zones have been set up around infected farms and along transportation routes so that little contact occurs between in-fected and uninfected areas and facilities.
Trucking companies and feed suppliers are operating dedicated lines of transport, making sure to not mix up the trucks that are servicing infected farms with those that are visiting uninfected farms.
Packers are segregating shipments from infected and uninfected areas and considering anything from a control zone to be possibly infected.
“We’re looking at segregated slaughter times, segregated management with specific transportation vehicles dedicated to those movements, with follow-up testing,” said Duizer.
Hogs moving off previously infected sites to finishing barns or to slaughter will be shown to be “non-shedding,” so they shouldn’t spread the disease any further.