PED source not a mystery in some of Manitoba’s 61 cases

After almost a month without any new cases, Manitoba’s 61st case of porcine epidemic diarrhea (PED) virus since early May was confirmed in a finisher hog barn in the southeast part of the province this week.

As of Thursday, there were 22 sow herds, 13 nurseries and 26 finishing operations infected, according to the province’s chief vet.

Extra biocontainment measures have been implemented to minimize the risk of spreading the manure-borne disease and investigations continue into how it was transmitted in most of these cases, but there’s a pretty clear explanation for some of them: it was walked in on four legs.

“A number of the cases are likely arising from direct animal movement, from pigs being moved from a farm that has already broken with it to other farms,” explains Mark Fynn, manager of quality assurance and animal care for the Manitoba Pork Council, in the interview below.

“It’s about a quarter of the cases that are known cases from moving pigs from one farm to another. Three-quarters have some other sort of explanation or an unknown explanation,” he says.

Because PED isn’t a human health, food safety or trade concern, most pigs that are older than 10 days overcome the sickness and go through the normal steps of the production chain before heading to slaughter. The logistics of hog production mean some previously PED-free barns have received pigs from infected barns that could no longer keep them.

“Producers that have sick pigs, if they’re able to accommodate them on a farm that is already experiencing PED, if they’re able to accommodate them until they’re done shedding the virus, then they’ll do that, but there are limitations to the space in the barns and we have to move pigs along to make sure we’re maintaining a good state of welfare,” notes Fynn.

In the case of the 61st barn, it received pigs that had previously been infected but had since tested negative, non-clinical to PED, noted Glen Duizer, the province’s chief veterinary officer, in a PED town hall conference call on Thursday.

“The pigs had recovered and had one round of negative tests before the movement,” he said. “Unfortunately that same group of pigs has not exhibited any clinical signs but has had some positive tests that suggest they are shedding again.”

Mark Fynn shared an update on the PED situation in Manitoba, the investigation into how it’s spreading, and discussed whether eradication is possible earlier this week:

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Kelvin Heppner

Kelvin Heppner is a field editor and radio host for RealAgriculture and RealAg Radio. He's been reporting on agriculture on the prairies and across Canada since 2008(ish). He farms with his family near Altona, Manitoba, and is on Twitter at @realag_kelvin. @realag_kelvin

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