Porcine epidemic diarrhea has been confirmed on a 400-head Alberta hog operation.
It is the first case of the deadly virus discovered in Alberta, although it has affected hog operations in four other provinces since 2014.
Alberta Pork today confirmed the finding and said it is working with Alberta Agriculture to investigate the outbreak and prevent it from spreading.
Dr. Keith Lehman, Alberta’s chief veterinarian, issued confirmation Jan. 7, emphasizing that the virus presents no risk to human health or to food safety and no market implications are expected.
PED is a reportable disease in Alberta. It is highly contagious, usually by the fecal-oral route, and the most common source of infection is through infected feces coming onto a farm via various surfaces.
It is almost always fatal to young piglets, which die from dehydration and malnutrition. It also causes diarrhea in older pigs, but they can recover from the illness.
“Alberta Agriculture and Forestry will continue to work with Alberta Pork, pork producers, swine veterinarians and other pork industry stakeholders to investigate this case and prevent further spread of the virus,” Lehman said in a statement.
The location and exact type of hog operation involved has not been released.
Since PED was first discovered in Ontario in 2014, swine veterinarians, producers and others in the industry have been working on both prevention and on response plans. Besides Ontario, PED has affected operations in Manitoba, Quebec and Prince Edward Island. It has never been found in Saskatchewan or British Columbia.
“Strict biosecurity protocols are of utmost importance in limiting the impact of disease in agriculture,” Alberta Pork said in its release.
“It is especially critical during this outbreak that producers consider enhancing biosecurity on-farm and in animal transportation. Producers are encouraged to submit all swine manifests, including farm to farm movements, in a timely manner.”
The outbreak will doubtless be a topic of discussion at the annual Banff Pork Seminar, now underway, that attracts hog producers from across Canada.