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Colombia Reports First Suspected Cases of PED

14 March 2014

COLOMBIA - The country's first outbreak of Porcine Epidemic Diarrhoea (PED) is suspected, following high mortality on one farm and suspicions at another 10 locations in the central region of Huila.

A highly contagious exotic disease known only in Europe, Asia and recently in the United States, has arrived in Colombia and begun generating alarm among pig farmers in several regions of the country, reports La Nación. Health authorities have so far failed to establish the origin of the rare disease that threatens Colombia's pork industry.

At Neiva, 380 pigs died within a few days at one farm, confirming the rapid spread of the virus. Also been reported in several cases in the neighborhood farms in Liverpool and other locations of Huila, Cundinamarca and Meta.

Health authorities have introduced controls around at least 10 farms.

According to the Instituto Colombiano Agropecuario (ICA), there have been several unexplained outbreaks in pigs in Neiva, municipalities Fusagasugá and Sylvania (Cundinamarca) and Puerto López (Meta).

The disease causes diarrhoea, vomiting and loss of appetite in porcine species of all ages and causes death from dehydration within days.

According to the newspaper, PED is unknown in Colombia but has had devastating impacts in Asia, Europe and the United States.

The virus is under investigation in an unnamed laboratory to confirm its nature, causes and origin and the results are expected next week.

According to La Nación, the country has been on alert for a year as measures hasve been put in place to deal with a possible future outbreak, including sanitary measures necessary for the prevention, control and eradication.

The provisions apply to all owners of livestock farms with pigs throughout the country.

ICA has organised surveillance, biosecurity and experts to visit farms suspected with the new disease and affected areas are under quarantine.

There is also an immediate ban on any event in the affected areas that involve pig movements.

ICA officials are carrying out inspections with the protection and support of the civil and military authorities to complete the monitoring and controls.

The measures were ordered by the General Manager of the ICA, Luis Humberto Martínez, under Resolution 797.

Pig farmers are being urged to carry out strict biosecurity to control the spread of the PED virus.

While the authorities stress that PED is no threat to public health or food safety, it could be a serious threat to pig production as the result of the high mortality it can bring within just a few weeks.

The regions of San Pedro and San Juan in Huila and Tolima may be particularly hard-hit as many local dishes are based on pork.

ThePigSite News Desk

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