On March 14, Manitoba Pork Council issued an advisory for Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea virus (PEDv) at high pig-traffic facilities, including assembly yards, federal packing plants and provincial abattoirs.
Since the beginning of February, Manitoba Agriculture has conducted surveillance testing using environmental samples to detect exposure to the PED virus. Two sets of samples linked to each other were confirmed positive for the PED virus.
“Producers should treat high contact areas such as loading docks, alley ways and stock trailers associated with these facilities as exposed to PEDv. No new cases have been found on farms,” says the MPC advisory.
MPC says while many facilities have implemented significant biosecurity steps to limit the spread of PEDv, the risk is still present and producers who deliver pigs to these facilities must take extra steps to ensure they don’t bring the virus back to their farms.
“We continue to encourage all transporters to properly wash and disinfect their trailers after returning from the U.S. or from premises that frequently ship to the U.S.,” says the release.
At the same time, the Office of the Chief Veterinary Officer (CVO) in Manitoba reports the investigation into how the PED virus may have arrived on the single infected farm in Manitoba continues, but the CVO ruled out feed and the movement of an infected pig onto the farm as possible sources.
Bulletin # 3 says the Office of the CVO has tested samples from all of the farm premises that had contact with the infected farm. To date, with tests completed from 60 premises, all confirmed negative for PED.
While it wasn’t before Manitoba had its first case, PED is now a reportable disease in Manitoba and veterinarians have received updated information from the Office of the CVO on the requirements to report suspected cases of PED. The rapid-detection monitoring program for facilities that move or handle large numbers of pigs continues.
There are now more than 30 farm premises testing positive for PED across Canada including one in Manitoba, one in Prince Edward Island, one in Quebec and at least 30 in Ontario. Manitoba remains in regular contact with chief veterinary officers and industry stakeholders across the country on this issue.
Dr. Doug MacDougald chair of the Ontario Swine Health Advisory Board is confident they’ve stopped the main source of PED virus in Ontario.
“The good news thus far is that there’s only a small number of cases that look like biosecurity or biosecurity gaps is the cause,” said MacDougald. “We expect some more to follow obviously with the number of cases we have, but our conclusion is that our surveillance and biosecurity measures thus far with PED appears to be holding up very well, maybe even surprisingly well, given the cold weather and the ability of this virus to live and move around easily in the winter time.”
He says the goal in Ontario is to eliminate the virus from the known sites and he’s confident they can do this.
“From there the primary focus is on containment so we can get into the spring and early summer, when the virus will not be nearly as easily transmitted, with as few positive cases and positive sites as possible and continue with surveillance to aid in effective early detection,” says MacDougald.
On some candid reflections with this reporter on Feb 21, MacDougald says there are some good news stories in this otherwise terrible crisis.
“At this point the enemy is the PED virus and we need to keep the pedal to metal to contain it and to eliminate it site by site, and keep on improving our biosecurity,” he says.
When asked to assess the Manitoba situation, MacDougald says based on the information before, during, and after the Feb 19 Town Hall meeting, and to the folks on the ground, what Manitoba is seeing, is really what he’d expected to see in Ontario, was it not for the part the contaminated feed may have played in this situation.
“We initially suspected we’d get PED virus in Canada off a cross-contaminated U.S. returning trailer,” he said.
While not confirming it, the feeling in Manitoba is this one case so far, smells a little bit more like that because it is a finishing barn.
A partner with MacDougald at the South West Veterinary Services in Ontario, Dr. Martin Misener, says late Mar 14, “We may be pushing 30 cases with one pending. Lateral spread appears to be linked to transport (best guess) but only one more sow site as far as I know. Lets hope the snow melts soon and we can start eliminating positive sites. We are fighting challenging times but still fighting and learning as we go.” •
— By Harry Siemens