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Weekly Overview: New Warning of PED Spread and Why There's Less Pork at Chipotle

26 January 2015

GLOBAL - The European pig sector should be on alert and be taking measures to prevent the spread of porcine epidemic diarrhoea (PED) as the infection has been confirmed at three farms in Ukraine. Winter has brought an increase in the weekly outbreaks of PED in the US and Canada has also reported a new case in the last week. In other news, a US restaurant chain has dropped pork from some of its outlets as one of its suppliers was not adhering to the company's pig welfare requirements.

Recent outbreaks of Porcine Epidemic Diarrhoea (PED) in Ukraine should serve as warning to the pig sector in Europe, a leading veterinarian has warned.

The North American strain of the PED virus, which has swept across the US since April/May 2013, has now been detected at a sow unit in central Ukraine.

Speaking to ThePigSite, pig veterinarian, Dr John Carr, said he has detected three cases of PEDv in Ukraine. The total number of cases is much higher, he said, and it is widespread across the east and west of the country.

With the virus now in Ukraine, the rest of Europe is on high alert.

"As this is the China/US strain of the virus, not the ordinary strain of Europe, it will act as a novel virus and European pigs will have no previous protection," said Dr Carr who stressed the need for heightened biosecurity measures, particularly vehicle disinfection before entering the farm.

An upturn in the number of PED outbreaks in the United States occurred in November, as the colder winter weather began. This was to be expected as the virus survives better at low temperatures as thorough disinfection is much harder to achieve. The number of new outbreaks reported by the USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) each week has returned to a level of 100 to 120 from the late summertime range of 60 to 80.

In Canada, a new case of PED in Ontario brings the total number of outbreaks there to 70 in the last year.

New funding is being made available to assist Saskatchewan pork producers in improving biosecurity to help prevent the spread of PED.

The Governments of Saskatchewan and Canada have allocated C$150,000 in funding through Growing Forward 2 to administer the Saskatchewan Swine Transport Biosecurity Program. This aims help the province's hog producers improve biosecurity and so help prevent the spread of PED.

New research from the University of Minnesota shows that sows previous infected with a relatively mild strain of the PED virus confer protection to their piglets against a more severe strain.

PED outbreaks are also continuing across much of Japan.

In other news, restaurant chain, Chipotle has taken pork off the menu of about one-third of its 1,700 restaurants because one supplier was not following the company’s strict welfare standards.

A spokesperson for Chipotle Mexican Grill in the US said the company would not compromise on its standards after a routine audit at the one supplier revealed that pigs there had access to neither an outdoor area nor to deeply bedded barns.

And finally, antibiotic resistance is developing quickly and many critically important drugs risk becoming obsolete. Disastrous consequences lie in wait, therefore, unless these drugs are used prudently, according to an investigation by 5m Publishing.

Jackie Linden

Jackie Linden

Top image via Shutterstock

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