Where Canada has escaped from too many outbreaks of Porcine Epidemic Diarrhoea virus (PEDv) since 2013, the country has now reported 56 outbreaks in this year alone since 2 May.
All positive confirmations were found in Manitoba – the vast majority being in the province’s south east, surrounding the city of Steinbach, a city about 60 km from Winnipeg. A recent outbreak, however, was confirmed in south central part of the province. In a very recent update, Manitoba Pork reported that July has so far resulted in 11 new outbreak reports, against only 10 before this year since the first outbreak was recorded in the state in 2014.
The outbreaks were found on 21 sow operations, 13 nursery farms and 22 finisher farms. The majority of the most recent outbreaks were on finisher farms.
Mystery PEDv outbreaks
It is unknown why the virus popped up now. Manitoba Pork Council’s general manager Andrew Dickson said recently to CBC News, “It caught us off-guard. We had a total of 10 cases in three years, so that’s what's throwing us off for a loop ... What happened this year that we’ve suddenly got 50?”
Mr Dickson added that trucks that send pigs across the border to the United States used to be cleaned in Manitoba. That requirement, however, has been lifted, making it a possible cause behind the outbreak.
PEDv causes illness in non-immune piglets. Photo: Dr Andrea Ladinig, University of Veterinary Medicine, Vienna, Austria.
Strict biosecurity practices
On its website, Manitoba Pork reminded pork professionals that strict biosecurity practices help limit the spread of the virus. “All pork producers must maintain strict on-farm biosecurity procedures to keep PED out of the barn. It is critical that the entire industry, including producers, transporters and suppliers work together to reduce transmission through good biosecurity practices.”
Manitoba Pork also stated that, as of 17 July, 9 of the in total 69 premises in Manitoba previously confirmed to have PED, are now determined to be PED Presumptive Negative following a negative status protocol developed by the chief veterinary office (CVO) and Manitoba’s swine veterinarians.
A PED Presumptive Negative premises, Manitoba Pork explained, is a premises where the affected producer has implemented strict measures to eliminate PED from all pigs and pig contact areas and have confirmed the virus has been eliminated through repeated animal and environmental testing. However, a potential PED risk still remains within the manure storage system.
Porcine Epidemic Diarrhoea in North America
Porcine Epidemic Diarrhoea first appeared on the North American continent in May 2013, having been reported on a farm in Indiana initially. From there, the virus spread rapidly throughout the United States, having a strong impact on the pig industry in the years following, killing in total 8 million pigs.