Mon, 27 Jan 2014
US & CANADA - Between 30 and 40 per cent of US sows have been infected with the Porcine Epidemic Diarrhoea (PED) virus and pig losses there have already exceeded four million, according to a Canadian veterinarian speaking at the Banff Pork Seminar 2014. Since he made these remarks, Canada has reported its first outbreak of PED - in Ontario.
Since it was first identified in the United States in May 2013, the PED virus (PEDv) has "spread to a significant amount of the US pig industry", Dr Doug MacDougald told Bruce Cochrane of Farmscape in an interview at the 2014 Banff Pork Seminar earlier this week.
So far, there have been no suspicious or positive cases of PED in Canada, stressed the veterinarian with the South-west Ontario Veterinary Service.
The virus causes diarrhoea and vomiting as well as high mortality in young piglets between two and five weeks of age, he explained.
He said that between 30 and 40 per cent of US sows have been infected with PEDv and that pig losses there have already reached four million "with more coming".
The main risk factor in the spread of PEDv is contaminated animal transport and, with regular trade across the US-Canadian border, this is an area that needs to be the focus of biosecurity for both countries - as well as extra attention to manure and fomites.
As the signs of PED in growing pigs may be mild, they could easily be missed, said Dr MacDougald, and so it has been proposed to extend surveillance at assembly yards and packing plants in Canada. A decision on this was expected by the end of the Pork Seminar.
Finally, offering advice to pork producers, Dr MacDougald told Farmscape they should work closely with animal transport companies and wash-bays to ensure that all vehicles entering their farms are thoroughly washed and disinfected.
Enhanced biosecurity will make it possible to keep PED out of Canada, he added, and to contain the infection if it does enter the country.