Manitoba clearing the deck of PED as cases are resolved

OTTAWA — Manitoba’s 14 cases of porcine epidemic diarrhea that emerged in 2018 are in various stages of resolution.

Dr. Glen Duizer, the province’s chief veterinary officer, said in a Nov 28 interview that seven of the 14 are now presumed free of the disease and another three are in transition, “which means they’ve removed any remaining risk for the disease and are in the process of cleaning up and testing to make sure that there’s nothing left over on the farm.

“There’s no farms in Manitoba now that actively have PED.…

“Some of them are still considered positive. Right now there’s about four from the 2018 outbreak that are working their way through the process, but they no longer have clinical disease. They’re just working their way through to eliminate pigs that were previously positive with the disease.”

Manitoba had its first case of the deadly pig virus in 2014 and since then it has infected 104 premises. The virus is usually fatal to young piglets and is easily spread.

Ontario has had 115 confirmed cases since January 2014, the most recent one confirmed Oct. 22. Saskatchewan and Alberta remain free of the virus so far, but it is considered endemic in the United States and there is considerable pig transport between infected U.S. states and Manitoba.

At one point there was optimism that PED might be eradicated in Manitoba, but Duizer downplayed the possibility.

“I think it’s still out, whether we will be successful on a full eradication. Whether that’s going to be practical in the long term also remains to be seen, but at this stage we’re going to continue down this pathway and if we continue to see fewer and fewer cases year after year, then I’d say we’d be more comfortable in saying we’d eliminated it from the province.”

He said pockets of infection at high-traffic assembly yards and in manure pose a risk to further swine barn infection. Weather, wind and temperature also play their roles.

“The bottom line is we still have some risk factors that we think will diminish over time and in the meantime can we keep it contained and at low numbers.”

Duizer and Manitoba Pork swine health manager Jenelle Hamblin spoke about the PED battle Nov. 28 at the National Farmed Animal Health and Welfare Council forum.

Both of them noted Manitoba is no stranger to emergency response, be it flood, fire or disease.

Hamblin said partnerships with all players in the province’s hog industry were crucial to managing PED.

“We’re very proud of how we have worked together collaboratively,” she said.

The province now has a response model for handling PED that involves producers, western Canadian hog organizations, provincial governments and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, as well as veterinarians, transporters, processors, feed manufacturers and other companies that service the hog industry.

Duizer said the creation of buffer zones has helped limit spread. So has a “wartime” mentality regarding biosecurity.

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