Regional-level biosecurity urged against PED in Manitoba

(Keith Weller photo courtesy ARS/USDA)

Producers in southeastern Manitoba’s “hog alley” are being urged to keep animal movements to a minimum and limit contact with hog operations in an area that’s seen five on-farm cases of porcine epidemic diarrhea (PED) this month.

The province’s chief veterinary officer on Thursday confirmed positive test results for PED at a sow operation in the same area as the four most recently confirmed PED-positive farms.

The provincial ag department’s emergency operation centre is “continuing to operate” and conducting a full disease investigation, the Manitoba Pork Council said Friday. Veterinarians with clients in the area “have been made aware of the site’s location.”

All producers in the affected area are “strongly encouraged to ensure full compliance of their existing biosecurity protocols — every person, every time,” the council said.

Producers should also seek advice from their herd veterinarians on how to “further enhance their protocols,” the council said.

“With the number of cases that have popped up, we’re trying to talk about regional biosecurity,” Mark Fynn, the council’s manager of quality assurance and animal care programs, said Friday on the industry-sponsored program Farmscape.

“We really want to be able to restrict the amount of movement that’s happening, even within the area,” he said, including service providers such as “people who are doing garbage pickup, the feed guys, Manitoba Hydro, if they have inspectors out in the site or in that area and that sort of thing.

“We want to make sure they don’t go on those sites,” he said, and “if there’s any contamination around the site as well, we don’t want to see lots of traffic within the region.”

Producers, he said, “have to treat their yards like they’re all dirty and we really have to stop this thing coming through the barn door… It’s a serious time in that area.”

A reportable disease in Manitoba, PED is spread by a virus causing severe dehydration and diarrhea in pigs, and is generally fatal in very young animals, though older animals can recover.

PED is not transmitted to humans or to other animals and is not a food safety risk, the provincial ag department said.

In all, southeastern Manitoba has confirmed 15 on-farm cases of PED since the disease first appeared in the province in February 2014. Of those 15, nine are now considered “presumptive negative” for PED.

Ontario has seen the bulk of Canada’s confirmed on-farm cases of PED, at 101, since the disease first arrived in Canada in January 2014, but has not seen any new cases since early March. Quebec and Prince Edward Island have also previously reported on-farm cases. — Network

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