Hog virus cases slow, says Manitoba official

No new cases of porcine epidemic diarrhea have been found in Manitoba since early September, and some affected premises have eradicated the virus.

Dr. Glen Duizer, Manitoba’s chief veterinary officer, said Oct. 5 that 78 operations had the deadly pig virus this year and 32 of those have moved to “transitional status,” meaning their pigs test negative for PED and the facilities are considered low risk for the virus.

Manitoba’s cases are all in the southeast, which has 198 hog operations comprising 1.05 million animals.

“We’ve been very good at keeping it in one geographic area.”

Duizer said the virus spread in Manitoba mostly through direct animal movement. Of the 78 infected farms, 30 got the virus when animals were moved for space reasons or as part of the production process from farrowing to feeding to finishing.

“If there’s one take-home message, (it’s) that if there’s opportunities to have an effective limitation on movement or delay movement such that they can limit the spread of the disease, then it certainly would help dealing in an outbreak situation,” Duizer said.

Staff and equipment may have spread the virus in some cases, and wind, birds and rodents might be the vectors in other cases, he added.

Feed is not considered to be a source of the virus on the infected premises in Manitoba, though it is considered to be the culprit in Ontario cases found in 2014.

PED was first found in Canada in January 2014, eight months after it had begun killing millions of piglets in the United States. Thirty-nine states now have the virus in their hog operations, according to Alberta Agriculture veterinary epidemiologist Dr. Julia Keenliside.

PED is considered endemic in the U.S., but Duizer said Manitoba plans to eradicate the virus within the province, just as Quebec and Prince Edward Island have done.

The virus has not infected hog operations in Saskatchewan, Alberta and British Columbia.

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