PED Update: Canada Positive

CANADA - The last few weeks Genesus was at the Iowa and Minnesota Pork Congresses partaking in the meetings and tradeshows. To no surprise there was a lot of discussion regarding Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea virus (PED). Many people asked about how we are handling it in Canada. My response was simple... at this time Canada does not have PED… but it is just a matter of time, writes Pat Hoffmann, Director of Health & Biosecurity.
calendar icon 27 January 2014
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On Thursday, 23 January, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency confirmed a positive case of (PED) in Middlesex County, Ontario, Canada. The Canadian Swine Health Board (CSHB) was notified as soon as the case was confirmed.

PED was confirmed in the US on 17 May, the first time the disease has been identified in North America. Although clinical signs possibly started appearing in April it wasn’t until May that the test available for the foreign disease. Previously endemic to parts of Europe and Asia, it was not a surprise that the strain found in the US was 99.4 per cent genetically similar to a strain found in China.

I previously wrote a PED Technical Article with specifics about the virus that we knew at that time. PED is a Coronavirus that acts similar to its cousin TGE. This disease causes vomiting and diarrhea in all ages of swine, with up to 100 per cent mortality in preweaned piglets for 3+ weeks. It is reported as “TGE on steroids” by veterinarians that are dealing with it first-hand. PED is not a food safety issue and it poses no risk to humans or other species.

After observing PED in the US for 8 months experts have observed a few differences when compared to TGE. PED positive animals shed a lot more virus and shed a lot longer. This results in more virus in the environment and smaller room for error when washing and disinfecting buildings, trucks, trailers, etc. Many people are reporting “rebreaks” but in reality it is probably due to the infectious dose in the environment overcoming the immune system. Research on trailer drying indicates the neutralizing temperature is also higher at 160oF for 10 minutes.

National Animal Health Laboratory Network (NAHLN)

As you see on the graph above from the NAHLN, PED loves cooler weather. It is being reported that PED is able to survive in pits and slurries for week, if not months.

A few weeks ago Jim Long (Genesus President/CEO) posed a question to our sales staff asking what farms that are triple negative (1. PRRS, 2. M. hyo, and 3. APP) have broken with PED? Answer: very few, if any. The point is when it comes to PED and biosecurity we do not need to re-invent the wheel. There are some things that we need to tweak but executing the basics is and will continue to be the biggest challenge. Put simply, anything that has, or ever had manure on it is a risk.

Doing a complete biosecurity audit of your farm with your veterinarian is more important now than ever. Clear communication confirming your biosecurity protocol with your employees is critical so that everybody is held accountable. There needs to be clear Lines of Separation in the barn entry, load out area, etc. Abiding by human downtimes, properly disinfecting supplies coming into the farm, and eliminating unnecessary traffic coming onto the farm is critical. Again… we are not reinventing the wheel.

When the US broke with PED it took a month to figure out what it was and get a reliable test in place. In the meantime time the virus was spreading like wildfire. That got many of us questioning how prepared we really are for a foreign animal disease outbreak. Canada was privileged in that it has had 8 months to look at how the US has handled PED and come up with a better plan. Having reliable tests and a reporting system already in place prior to the break is a huge advantage. PED is important for obvious reasons but... tomorrow could be Foot and Mouth Disease.

Further Reading

Find out more information on PED by clicking here.

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