First Canadian PED Outbreak: Unwelcome, Not Surprising

CANADA - Just before the Banff Pork Seminar 'boar pit' session kicked off on 23 January, a bombshell had dropped - news of the first case of deadly pig virus, Porcine Epidemic Diarrhoea (PED) confirmed in Canada.
calendar icon 24 January 2014
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Understandably this topic dominated the session, which is designed as an open-format, no-hold-barred, frank and interactive discussion of the hot issues in pork production, reports Meristem Land and Science.

Leading the session were three panelists, including producer Claude Vielfaure, Dr Doug MacDougald of SouthWest Ontario Veterinary Services and economist Steve Meyer of Paragon Economics, along with moderator Shannon Meyers of Fast Genetics.

Managing a Potential Crisis

PED has become a major problem for the US pork industry recently. Dr Doug MacDougald has been at the forefront of Canada's effort to understand and rally support for precautions to limit PED risk. He provided an update based on the day's news.

"There's a 500-sow farrow-to-finish operation confirmed positive as of today," says MacDougald. "It's a closed herd. At this point, there is no short-list of probable introductions of the virus. The direction today is containment. The direction is also to follow contacts on where people, supplies and equipment have gone. As of today and tomorrow, the focus is marshalling resources and doing extensive investigating. We will know 30 hours from now on at least the initial contacts to this farm if it has spread by those means or not."

There is no need to raise panic, he said. "There are a lot of misconceptions on the manner and speed of how this has spread in US. It may be acting like a supervirus but folks, it's not. It's a coronavirus, there's good history and knowledge, and we know if it's handled right in most situations, the track record is sow herds can eliminate this in 90 to 100 days."

"The most important thing in a case like we've found today is put your arms around and contain it. That's what's happening now."

More cases are likely and the industry is expected to enter a lock-down mentality to limit spread.

Several participants noted the risk has been very high given the close interaction between the Canadian and US industries, so while the news is not welcome it is also not surprising. The tone in the room reflected a resolve to make good decisions and work diligently to turn a challenging situation into a speed bump that will not derail a Canadian pork sector that has been looking very strong.

Further Reading

Find out more information on PED by clicking here.

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