CPC, CSHB Take Action to Deal with Virus Threat

CANADA - More than 115 individuals joined a national conference call this week to learn more about the current US outbreak of Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea (PED) virus - the first time this disease has been confirmed in North America – and to learn how best to keep it out of Canada.
calendar icon 7 June 2013
clock icon 4 minute read

Organized jointly by the Canadian Pork Council (CPC) and the Canadian Swine Health Board (CSHB), the call provided an opportunity for participants to obtain the most up to date information on its spread in the US, and what Canadian stakeholders can do to help ensure it does not enter Canada.

The source of the infection and its spread are not yet known, although several investigative teams are currently working to establish how the virus came to North America from Asia or possibly Europe. The disease has severe economic impacts on hog farmers and the rest of the industry because of the high mortality it causes in certain ages of pigs.

The CSHB has been following this closely this since the disease was identified in the US on May 16, and had already provided four separate updates to the industry. It was felt that with a national teleconference, more current details could be shared, and an interactive approach with questions from industry stakeholders could be provided.

“We must all work together to prevent against this significant threat to our industry”, said Jean-Guy Vincent, CPC President. “The CSHB is to be commended for immediately taking leadership on this file. This teleconference was an opportunity to ensure industry players understand the threat, and what preventive measures must be taken.”

“The level of engagement from across Canada, and from all industry stakeholders, clearly demonstrates that Canada’s hog industry recognizes the risks this disease poses,” said Florian Possberg, Chair of the CSHB. “We all recognize the value of active involvement of our member organizations in facing this critical issue head on, including CPC’s partnership in organizing and hosting the teleconference.”

Besides producers, participants on the teleconference included veterinarians, genetics suppliers, processors, animal health industry reps, researchers and academia, as well as representation from Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, Canadian Food Inspection Agency, and the provincial Chief Veterinary Officers. Presenters on the call included technical experts from the US and Canada, and included sharing real-life experiences with this disease in China.

A series of appropriate next steps were discussed, and this work is already well underway. Extra vigilance on biosecurity is the most important approach, including ensuring trucks returning from the US are cleaned and disinfected before entering any site containing swine. Protocols for effective cleaning and disinfection of trucks are available at www.swinehealth.ca.

Given that PED can be spread by contaminated footwear, anyone returning from an infected area should ensure they follow effective biosecurity protocols - a timely reminder, given that several Canadians are expected to participate in World Pork Expo this week in Des Moines, Iowa.

Also on the teleconference, the Canadian Association of Swine Veterinarians indicated that they were in the process of developing a notice for transporters, to remind them of the threat posed by this virus. Participants on the call freely offered to distribute this widely, reinforcing the high importance the industry places on this matter – and further demonstrating the value of collaboration of industry stakeholders.

Further Reading

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

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