PED virus found in Alta. hog office

Evidence of porcine epidemic diarrhea virus in the office of a busy hog exchange facility last week is evidence the deadly pig virus is on the move, hog producers heard Oct. 31.

No pigs were sick and no barns had been infected in Alberta as of Nov. 3, but an environmental test confirmed that PED has made its way into the province.

Dr. Julia Keenliside, a veterinary epidemiologist with Alberta Agriculture, said the office where PED was found has been cleaned, and results of subsequent tests have yet to be received.

Tests from other areas of the same facility were negative.

Trace-outs are also underway and the facility has fully co-operated with testing, clean up and retesting.

“We have to treat all of our sites as potentially positive all of the time,” said Keenliside.

Evidence of the virus does not necessarily mean any greater risk than the industry already faces, she added.

“I anticipate there will be more positive tests this winter in Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba,” she said.

“This won’t be the only one. What we have to do is avoid stopping all business and overacting to these. We have to take them seriously, but we have to continue with our business and continue with our biosecurity.”

Keenliside also updated producers on a positive test for swine delta corona virus (SDCV), which was confirmed in mid-October.

Delta corona virus is similar to PED in its transmission and effects on pigs.

Keenliside said trace-out from that test has involved 10 producers in Alberta, 12 in Saskatchewan and one in British Columbia. As of Oct. 31, all trace-outs were negative.

“Surveillance is an excellent early warning system and in this case it may have been just fantastic because we caught infection at a really early stage within the site and we were able to clean out and prevent our site from going positive.”

The positive SDCV test and the positive PED test were from two different facilities, but specific locations have not been revealed.

PED has infected 70 hog operations in Canada, all but eight in Ontario.

Dr. Egan Brockhoff, a swine veterinarian who has visited many infected sites in Canada, the United States and Asia, told producers that Ontario is successfully eradicating the virus from infected barns.

However, “we know the virus is being moved,” said Brockhoff, noting transport truck traffic and the two positive Alberta tests.

He said three vaccines now treat PED, but none will prevent it.

Dried porcine plasma feed additives where thought to be a possible vector when PED was first found in Canada in January. Though that may have been true, the World Organization for Animal Health has said such products are not a likely source of PED transmission if they are produced in accordance with stringent biosecurity.

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