UPDATE: Sat. Feb. 1, 2014
by BETTER FARMING STAFF
A fifth farm operation in Ontario has been confirmed to have PED, the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture and Food noted on its website on today. The virus was confirmed on the nursery finisher barn in Simcoe County on Friday.
Ontario Pork has added a special section to its website to update producers on developments.
UPDATE: Fri. Jan. 31, 2014
by SUSAN MANN
The federal government is prepared to issue permits to authorized veterinarians wanting to import a United States-made porcine epidemic diarrhea virus called iPED+ for use in Canadian pig herds, Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz announced late Thursday afternoon.
The vaccine, manufactured by Harrisvaccines of Ames, Iowa, will be available for use in Canada under veterinary supervision “as a precautionary measure against PED,” according to the government’s Jan. 30 press release.
Farmers should talk to their vet about the vaccine. Vets can apply for an import permit for it immediately, the government says. “The manufacturer’s preliminary studies have shown vaccinated pigs develop antibodies against PED virus.”
In other news, Ontario Premier and Agriculture Minister Kathleen Wynne hosted a telephone conference call Thursday with federal, provincial and territorial agriculture ministers.
In an emailed statement from her spokesman, Mark Cripps, Wynne says Ontario will continue working on sharing information, monitoring the responsiveness of existing programs and a “high level of collaboration between the (Ontario) chief veterinarian office’s officials and CFIA (Canada Food Inspection Agency) officials across the country. While this issue is currently within Ontario’s borders, the industry is best served by a cohesive national approach across FPT (federal, provincial, territorial) partners,” she says. END OF UPDATE
UPDATE: Thurs. Jan. 30 2014
by SUSAN MANN and BETTER FARMING STAFF
Porcine epidemic diarrhea virus has extended its reach into Ontario once again.
Ontario Ministry of Agriculture and Food sampling has confirmed the presence of the virus at an assembly yard, a trucking yard and a processing plant, the ministry says in an update on its website. But that doesn’t surprise ministry officials. “Given the hardy, virulent nature of PED it is not unexpected to find it present in various locations. The experience in the United States has shown us that,” stated the update notice.
The current goal is to limit the spread of the virus through stringent biosecurity measures. Industry members, such as farmers, transporters and suppliers, must work together and “increase vigilance with biosecurity measures,” the notice said.
In addition, farmers need to contact their veterinarians immediately if animals show any signs of illness. “It is important that we know how many farms are infected,” the notice said.
Hog movement from the four infected farms has been halted, voluntarily. Mary Jane Quinn, Ontario Pork’s communications and consumer marketing manager, said there is a plan in the works to deal with pigs from infected farms involving transporters, assembly yards and packers. Those pigs will likely be transported in dedicated trucks to particular assembly yards and to a particular packing plant on a particular day. She mentioned Thursday as an example. But the talks are in early stages.
Amy Cronin, Ontario Pork chair, says there are certain transporters who have had positive PED virus tests that have taken trucks off the road to ensure that they’re clean and disinfected before putting them back on. “It’s just everybody taking precautionary measures.” END OF UPDATE
PUBLISHED: Wed. Jan. 29, 2014
by SUSAN MANN
First there was one, and then there were two.
Now, there are four cases of porcine epidemic diarrhea (PED) confirmed in Ontario.
Today, Ontario Ministry of Agriculture and Food officials confirmed two other cases of the virus that has ravaged more than 2,000 hog farms in 23 states in the United States since it first erupted there last spring. One was found in an 1,800 animal wean-to-finish Chatham-Kent operation and the other in a 500 sow farrow-to-finish operation in Norfolk County. Cases confirmed earlier this week and last week were located in a 500 sow farrow-to-finish operation in Middlesex County and in a 3,000 animal wean-to-finish barn in Chatham-Kent.
There are no details yet about when detection occurred, said Mark Cripps, ministry spokesperson, via email. The ministry is establishing daily updates about the disease on its website.
“I can confirm that Canadian Food Inspection Agency testing of samples from the first identified farm case has shown this strain is consistent with that circulating in the United States,” Cripps wrote. “Experience in other jurisdictions shows that contamination usually happens through mechanical means (trucks or humans).”
Meanwhile, a veterinarian with South West Ontario Veterinary Services cautions producers about the limited effectiveness of a vaccine that is now available by veterinary prescription in the United States.
On Tuesday, during an Ontario Pork telephone meeting with producers and other members of the province’s swine industry, Marty Misener noted the vaccine “may have some help in herds where PED has gone endemic in reducing viral shed but it does not prevent an outbreak.”
The vaccine is for sows and has been developed by Harrisvaccines, a company from Ames, Iowa. The company is working with U.S. government officials to license the vaccine so it can be available commercially. According to an article in Better Pork’s February issue by Ernest Sanford, a swine specialist with Boehringer Ingelheim Vetmedica (Canada), its efficacy won’t be known until later in the year after more producers use it.
“We would all love it if there was a highly” effective vaccine on the market that would prevent an outbreak, Misener said Tuesday. “I want to be real clear because I don’t want producers out of panic spending a lot of money with expectations on something that doesn’t work.”
During the same meeting, Greg Douglas, Ontario’s chief veterinarian noted the Canadian Food Inspection Agency is ready to consider approving the vaccine “as soon as we need it and think it works for us in private veterinarian protocols here in Ontario.”
As well, the Canadian Pork Council is coordinating a voluntary group of interested parties, such as swine veterinarians, provincial officials, farmers, council staff and swine health board representatives.
“It is similar to what the United States has already done in terms of bringing together some parties with a common interest in this,” says Martin Rice, Canadian Pork Council executive director.
Council spokesperson Gary Stordy says the group will cooperate with the Canadian Swine Health Board “in continuing discussions about PED.” The idea is to have key industry people be as well informed as they can be. The Canadian group will also talk to the similar group in the United States.
He says there’s “no shortage of questions from all aspects of the industry about what they should or could be doing to help minimize the risk or transmission of PED virus.”
The effort is designed to ensure “we’re all dealing with the best information possible on how to deal with PED virus,” Stordy says.
One measure that won’t be on the table is activating a shut-off point on the Ontario/Manitoba border to prevent livestock movement between Eastern and Western Canada. The shut-off point, located at West Hawk Lake, was set up in 2006 by governments and livestock industries as a way to isolate one region of the country from the other if one region experienced a foreign animal disease outbreak. The unaffected zone would then be able to continue its operations.
The West Hawk station was closed last year because “it was felt it was not the most effective and efficient way to gather the data (on livestock truck movements),” Rice said.
Even if it had remained open, “I’m not sure there’s the authority to stop” hog truck traffic across Canada, he added.
That’s because, only world reportable diseases, such as foot and mouth disease, would have been able to trigger the barrier, he explained in a previous interview. Many of the reportable diseases listed on the World Organisation for Animal Health website result in trade restrictions for the countries where they’ve been found and require strict phytosanitary measures to be used by all countries to prevent their spread.
Mary Jane Quinn, Ontario Pork manager of communications and consumer marketing, said today Ontario Pork hasn’t seen any consumer fallout from the disease. Ontario Pork hasn’t seen a decrease in consumers’ buying of pork products “and the United States has not either.” The United States “is our benchmark because the United States has been dealing with it for a while now.”
Both government and industry officials have been consistently reminding consumers PED does not affect food safety and poses no risk to human health or other animals besides pigs.
PED is usually fatal for very young pigs, while older pigs show the clinical signs of vomiting and diarrhea but usually recover. It has killed more than one million pigs in the United States. The virus is also in Europe and Asia. BF