A close eye is being kept on the port industry, after the first case of Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea in Canada was reported in Middlesex County, Ontario on Thursday.
The source of the virus is still unknown, as officials from several agencies investigate the barn and where the pigs recent movements.
The farm has been locked down while OMAF works closely with the producer, the pork industry, and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency to control the spread of the virus.
Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea is wide-spread in Europe, China and has recently spread across the United States, with confirmed cases in as many as 23 States.
According to OMAF, the producer followed strict bio-security protocols, however the cases in the U.S. have shown that containment of the virus is difficult and they are not ruling out the potential for other cases.
In a statement, Ontario Chief Veterinarian Dr. Greg Douglas is reassuring the public there is no danger to them. “PED is not a human health or food safety risk. Pork continues to be a safe and healthy choice for consumers. Ontario will continue to work closely with its producers to minimize the impact of this virus,” said Dr. Douglas.
Producer and Ontario Pork Chair Amy Cronin says there is a team of people from different governments and organizations working on this.
“Ontario Pork is working closely with provincial and federal levels of government to ensure that the farm identified has the necessary support and resources to deal with this disease and contain it. All Ontario and Canadian swine farms are extremely vulnerable to this disease and we would urge all producers to immediately review and strengthen their existing biosecurity and disinfection protocols. We will continue to monitor the situation and update our producers when more information becomes available.”
Just prior to the case in Ontario surfacing, Alberta’s Chief Veterinarian Dr. Gerald Hauer made PED a reportable disease in that province.
He is asking producers to keep an eye out for symptoms in their herds, as well as implementing strict bio-security measures. PED causes death in about 80 – 90 per cent of all suckling pigs, while adults usually suffer from a milder Diarrhea.
PED has killed off about 3-million pigs in the U.S. since it first surfaced in May of last year.
The Ontario Ministry of Agriculture issued this statement:
Ontario is conducting an investigation on a hog farm in Middlesex County after a suspected finding of porcine epidemic diarrhea (PED) virus.
The virus does not affect food safety, and poses no risk to human health or other animals. Pork remains a safe choice for consumers to eat.
At this time, the source of the virus is unknown. The affected farm followed strict biosecurity protocols, but experience in other jurisdictions shows that PED is extremely difficult to contain and more cases are possible.
The Ontario Ministry of Agriculture and Food (OMAF) is working closely with the producer, the pork industry, and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency to control the spread of the virus. The producer is fully cooperating with all parties in the ongoing assessment.
Biosecurity remains the best tool to protect swine herds. All pork producers are encouraged to maintain strict biosecurity protocols and contact their veterinarian immediately if animals show any signs of illness. Under Ontario’s Animal Health Act, veterinarians are required to immediately report any significant herd health changes to OMAF.
NOTIFICATION TO ONTARIO PORK INDUSTRY FROM ONTARIO PORK:
- A farrow-to-finish farm in Middlesex County, Ontario has been identified having Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea virus (PEDV). This is the first case reported in Canada.
- PEDV is not a reportable disease in Ontario but the Health of Animals Act considers this type virus a “serious risk” and veterinarians must report it to the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture and Food.
- As it is the first case in Canada it has also been reported to the Canadian Food Inspection Agency.
- The farm has stopped movement of all swine and is working with their veterinarian and the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture and Food to assess next steps.
- Samples were sent to the Guelph laboratory and were confirmed last night (Jan.22). Since then samples have been sent to Winnipeg for confirmation. We expect results by tomorrow (Jan.24).
- Ontario Pork fully supports the work of our provincial and federal government to work with the farmer and finalize the test results.
What Pork Producers Should Do:
· PED can be transmitted by anything contaminated by manure so it is crucial to:
o ensure all trucks and trailers, and the driver’s clothing and boots, are washed and disinfected before arriving at your operation.
o keep truckers off your property until you have verified cleaning and disinfection has occurred
o be vigilant with your biosecurity protocols.
· Changes in prevalence or type of diarrhea in your pigs could be a sign of PED. You should:
o report this ASAP to your herd veterinarian.
o ensure you have up-to-date records of recent pig movement.
- If you are a producer with questions, please contact your local veterinarian
- For more information visit the websites of Ontario Pork (www.www.ontariopork.on.ca/ProductionStandards/PED.aspx), Canadian Swine Health Board (www.swinehealth.ca) and Ontario Pork Industry Council (www.opic.on.ca/biosecurity-resources/porcine-epidemic-diarreah-ped)
- Farm Animal Care Helpline (519) 837-1326
- Contact Ontario Pork
- Phone: 877-668-7675 or 519-767-4600
- Email: email@example.com
The Alberta Chief Veterinarian issued this statement:
Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea (PED) is a highly contagious, viral disease of pigs that does not currently occur in Alberta, but is present in the United States. PED causes severe diarrhea and death in suckling pigs and milder diarrhea in older pigs. Any sudden onset of unusual diarrhea should be investigated immediately by a veterinarian.
Due to the economic harm that it could cause to the pork industry if it spreads to Alberta, effective January 20, 2014, I am declaring PED as a reportable disease in the Province of Alberta under the authority of Section 3(b) of the Animal Health Act. As of January 20, 2014, all known or suspect cases of PED occurring in Alberta must be reported to the Chief Provincial Veterinarian (CPV) within 24 hours.
Contact 780-427-3448 during regular business hours or 1-800-524-0051 after hours to report.
Transmissible gastroenteritis (TGE) causes very similar symptoms to PED. It is also reportable in Alberta, although there will be no government response to TGE cases. Lab testing is necessary to confirm the presence of either TGE or PED.
Making PED a reportable disease will help minimize the risk of the disease becoming established in Alberta. The Alberta response will be guided by the Alberta Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea and Transmissible Gastroenteritis Disease Control Plan. In accordance with this plan, Alberta Agriculture and Rural Development (ARD) will provide support to the industry by:
Testing samples for PED at our lab
Coordinating the Alberta response for the first few cases, if PED is found in the province
Communicating with stakeholders
Working with local veterinarians to provide advice on implementation of biosecurity and disease control measures for affected premises.
Because PED does not affect food safety, public health, or other types of animals, the plan does not call for ARD quarantining farms or placing movement controls. ARD will not pay compensation for disease control measures or losses associated with the disease.
For more on PED and the measures you can take to help protect you farm click on one of the following links.