Testing confirmed a “weak” PED positive
By Diego Flammini
Government officials have found remnants of the porcine epidemic diarrhea (PED) virus in Alberta.
On Jan. 22, staff at Alberta Agriculture and Forestry’s lab in Edmonton detected a “weak positive sample” that was collected through an environmental surveillance program.
“A weak environmental positive means that we have found a trace of the virus in samples taken from high-traffic areas with a lot of movement of pigs,” Javier Bahamon, quality assurance and production manager with Alberta Pork, told Farms.com. “When values are in a strong positive, we believe it can be from animals that are actively shedding the virus.”
The discovery, however, doesn’t mean any hogs or farms are infected with the virus.
“We don’t have a new case, it’s just environmental contamination,” Bahamon said.
Alberta did have four cases of PED confirmed between January and March 2019.
PED is not federally regulated but is provincially regulated in the Prairie provinces and Ontario. This means producers or veterinarians in those jurisdictions must report suspected or confirmed cases to the Office of the Chief Provincial Veterinarian.
With this recent discovery, Alberta Pork is reminding industry members to take every precaution to ensure the disease doesn’t infect any animals.
“It is critical that producers and industry partners remain vigilant,” the organization said in a Jan. 27 release. “Be sure to properly wash transport trailers and equipment, and submit all swine manifests, including farm-to-farm movements, to Alberta Pork in a timely manner. Biosecurity and traceability are important parts of effective disease prevention.”
The Canadian Food Inspection Agency confirmed the first case of PED in Canada in January 2014 on an Ontario hog farm. Since then the disease has been reported in Manitoba, Quebec and Prince Edward Island.
Officials from Quebec and P.E.I. haven’t reported any new cases since 2015. Testing in Ontario confirmed one case of PED in early January and Manitoba hasn’t reported any new instances of the virus since last year.