Call for Stronger Biosecurity Practices to Prevent Entry of PED

CANADA - An outbreak of Porcine Epidemic Diarrhoea (PED) virus in the US, the first time this disease has been confirmed in North America. This virus has been widespread in Europe and Asia, and active in China since 2010.
calendar icon 4 June 2013
clock icon 4 minute read

The outbreak appears to be widespread in the US, with no apparent linkages found among affected areas. Several investigative teams are currently working to establish the source of the infection.

PED is caused by a coronavirus distinct from Transmissible Gastroenteritis virus (TGE). Like TGE, the virus damages the villi in the gut thus reducing the absorptive surface, with loss of fluid and dehydration, resulting in loss of fluid, dehydration, and often death. Since this disease is new to North America, Canadian herds have no immunity and impacts would be severe.

"This disease would have a devastating impact on our Canadian industry," said Jean-Guy Vincent, President of the Canadian Pork Council. "Since this disease has never been in Canada, our Canadian herd remains very susceptible to PED. Production losses from this disease would have severe impacts on competitiveness of the sector, and all producers have a key role to play in protecting against PED in Canada."

"The most important thing producers can do is tighten their on-farm biosecurity," said Florian Possberg, Chair of the Canadian Swine Health Board. "Producers should ensure all trucks entering their farms that may have be en in the US have been effectively cleaned and disinfected. Good biosecurity can stop the spread of this and other pathogens."

The Canadian industry is fortunate that our northern climate, vast open spaces and low population densities provide an excellent growing environment for the commercial production for high quality premium hogs and world class breeding stock. The sheer scale of Canada land mass enables the country to be a major food producer with less than 5 per cent of its land dedicated to agriculture. Livestock production is spread over such a large area that animal density is low, despite the size of the industry.

The CSHB’s Canadian Swine Health Intelligence Network (CSHIN) is the industry’s eyes and ears monitoring swine diseases, and this virus has not been reported through CSHIN. Producers work closely with their veterinarians to ensure their animals remain healthy.

How this pathogen reached North America is still unknown, but Canadian stakeholders are working closely with their US counterparts. The Canadian Association of Swine Veterinarians (CASV) is work ing in conjunction with the American Association of Swine Veterinarians to learn more about this pathogen and its transmission routes. The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) is also working closely with their counterparts at USDA.

Producers seeing signs of widespread diarrhea in their herds should contact their veterinarian for a specific diagnosis, and take care to avoid exposing other farms. Producers are also encouraged to reference CSHB’s National Swine Farm-Level Biosecurity Standard, as well as protocols for effective cleaning and disinfection of trucks, available here.

Further Reading

Find out more information on Porcine Epidemic Diarrhoea (PED) by clicking here.

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