One of the side benefits, and maybe a detriment too, depending on how the industry and individuals including hog producers and industry employees handle it, has to do with the heightened biosecurity.
For those who take biosecurity seriously all the time, they can use the crisis as a teaching and learning period, making sure the biosecurity protocols aren’t only updated, but taught, learned, internalized, implemented and carried through.
This heightened biosecurity can also lull some people to rest on their laurels so to speak and puff up their chests, and say all is good, but in reality slacking off for the same reason and before one can say PED virus it spreads.
Dr. Chris Byra, the manager of the Canadian Swine Health Intelligence Network says confirmation of Swine DeltaCoronavirus in six Ontario swine farms underscores the importance of keeping on top of biosecurity.
In March, samples from six Ontario farms with clinical signs of vomiting and diarrhea that tested negative for Transmissible Gastroenteritis and for Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea tested positive for Swine DeltaCoronavirus, too.
Byra says the discovery of this virus does complicate the situation.
“The virus results in similar conditions and some veterinarians are saying they’re slightly milder than the regular PED virus but it indicates there are two different viruses in the Ontario outbreak,” he said. “There is some suspicion that perhaps it was in that same feed sample that was recalled and being confirmed. The way it complicates it is, if it did not come in by that route, then we know that there have been new breaks into the industry and that’s a concern.
Dr. Byra says they’re aware the exposure from trucks returning from the U.S. continues to be a risk but truck washes and proper biosecurity protocols mitigates it mostly.
“The concern in Ontario is now that the more recent cases are probably errors or biosecurity breaks in transport,” he said. “That tends to be the highest risk so really the barn door is where it has to stop at the end of the day.”
Swine DeltaCoronavirus is clinically similar to but distinct from, PED and TGE and causes diarrhea and vomiting in all age groups and mortality in nursing pigs but is not a risk to human health or to other animals and is not a food safety risk.
Byra stresses maintaining the focus on biosecurity as the last step to prevent virus from entering the barn proves to be very effective. •
— By Harry Siemens