PED stays contained in Alberta

Porcine epidemic diarrhea virus in Alberta has so far affected only one farm, the initial farm that was confirmed with the virus Jan. 8.

As of Jan. 31, no other cases had been identified in the province and the source of the virus has not been determined. No pigs have left the central-Alberta farrow-to-finish operation since the virus was discovered on the premises.

Alberta Pork said extensive testing has ruled out introduction of PED from other animals and from livestock transport vehicles.

“There is no evidence to support other theories such as introduction by feed or equipment brought onto the farm,” Alberta Pork said in a news release.

“Definitively identifying the source of a livestock disease can be extremely challenging. During outbreak investigations, it is not uncommon for a source to remain undetected.”

It added that “supervised animal shipments” from the farm may resume in the coming week “with negligible risk of disease spread or concern for welfare during transportation.”

The provincial veterinarian office said it continues to investigate the province’s first case of the highly contagious virus.

It said tests at swine traffic sites remain negative for PED, and it praised biosecurity efforts within the industry that so far have prevented spread.

The farm’s herd veterinarian and government veterinarians have visited the PED infected farm and checked for ongoing signs of illness and evidence that animals are still infectious.

PED virus does not infect other animals or humans and poses no threat to food safety.

However, it is almost always fatal to young piglets, which die of dehydration and malnutrition. Older animals can recover from the virus.

Alberta is the fifth province to report PED within its borders. The virus was first confirmed in Ontario in 2014, where it has since infected 118 premises to date. In that same year it was also reported in Quebec, Manitoba and Prince Edward Island.

Contact barb.glen@producer.com

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