by SUSAN MANN
The weather might have been unseasonably warm over the past few days but Ontario’s pork producers are not out of the woods yet when it comes to the threat of porcine epidemic diarrhea virus, says Ontario Pork’s technical programs veterinarian.
Mike DeGroot says there have been a few new cases lately and “everyone needs to keep their biosecurity up through the summer and early fall to keep PED out as well as other diseases.”
PED cases typically slow down in the warmer months.
In Ontario, the virus is still actively being spread around. However, “it (the spreading) has definitely been reduced. The virus is fairly well contained but it’s still out there and able to spread and affect farms,” he notes.
The virus gets onto farms either through pig transporters, service vehicles or people. “A movement of pigs is the biggest risk factor,” DeGroot notes. “This is reflected in the dozen cases we’ve had in 2016 so far. Eight of them were at finisher sites where transporters were headed to pick up pigs.”
DeGroot says transporters are washing the trucks. But “obviously not all trucks are washed at this point. They are washing a higher proportion than they did before PED” came to Ontario.
The number of cases is the same as for the first half of last year but way less than the same time period two years ago, when the virus first hit the province.
Knowing where the virus is and “sequencing loads can help” cut down on the disease’s spread, he says.
Swine Health Ontario is still working on a plan to eliminate the virus from Ontario.
In total, Ontario has had 97 confirmed cases of porcine epidemic diarrhea (PED) virus since Jan. 22, 2014 when the first farm in the province, a Middlesex Country farrow-to-finish operation was confirmed to have the virus.
There were 69 confirmed PED cases in 2014 and 16 cases in 2015. Of those 16 cases from 2015, 12 occurred from January to about June 7 and that’s the same number of cases as this year so far. From January to June, 2014 there were 59 cases.
Of the the total number of cases that have erupted since the virus first appeared in Ontario in 2014, DeGroot, says 75 to 80 per cent have been eliminated.
PED is a viral disease causing vomiting and diarrhea. The disease can be severe in nursing piglets with an almost 100 per cent mortality rate. In growing pigs, there is widespread diarrhea and a low death loss. The disease isn’t a human health or food safety risk. BF