Though two new cases have been reported this month, the industry has made great progress in recovering from the 82 cases in 2019
By Jackie Clark
Producers in Manitoba reported two new cases of porcine epidemic diarrhea (PED) at the beginning of June, however, swine industry experts are still confident that their efforts to eliminate the disease are progressing.
Swine industry officials usually see a PED outbreak starting in mid-April or May, Dr. Glen Duizer, an animal health surveillance veterinarian with Manitoba Agriculture, told Farms.com.
“We still had three farms from the large outbreak in 2019 that were on their way through recovery and elimination; they just hadn't quite wrapped it up yet. They were well down that path and didn't have any active infected cases on those operations,” Duizer said. The “two new cases that we saw in 2020 are not linked to any of the remaining farms that were left from the 2019 outbreak.”
Swine industry stakeholders are also encouraged because the two new cases occurred later in the year than is typical, and are “in or near our previously affected areas and in our high-risk areas where we see PED on an annual basis,” Duizer added.
Southeastern Manitoba is a higher-risk region for PED because of the concentration of swine operations, as well as previous outbreaks.
Of course, producers near the new outbreaks should “take extra precautions, including extra barn biosecurity and monitoring for clinical signs,” he said.
“The fact that (the two new cases) came on, really, a month to six weeks later than we really traditionally have seen in the province is really good news in itself,” Jenelle Hamblin told Farms.com. She’s the manager of swine health programs for Manitoba Pork.
The industry has worked hard on awareness and prevention, including changes in biosecurity protocols.
Producers have tightened up how they move pigs and people around farms, including “entry protocols for staff, and load-out procedures when animals are being moved,” Hamblin said. “I think staff and production managers are more aware of the risks that could be posed during entry and exit procedures.”
This effort has involved talking with staff, but also other service providers who visit the farm, she added.
Industry stakeholders have also prioritized “dust control … in southeastern Manitoba, where we have had a majority of cases. It can be very dry and very dusty” which may be a risk factor for the spread of PED, Hamblin explained.
Producers and other workers in the industry are also mindful of controlling risk factors like manure application, on-farm traffic, and transport cleaning and disinfection.
“The work that's been done on transport cleaning and disinfection absolutely played a huge role in where we are today,” Hamblin said.
Great strides have been made to recover from outbreaks over the past several years and to prevent new cases in the province, but there is more work to be done.
“We're not done with the eradication efforts, the elimination efforts” Hamblin said.
However, “looking back to the 82 cases of PED they had in Manitoba last year … it really speaks volumes to the determination and the will that people across the sector have put into PED control, and elimination over the last year,” Dr. Jette Christensen, manager of the Canada West Swine Health Intelligence Network, told Farms.com.
“The reason that they got so close to actually having cleaned up the all the cases from last year is because, across the board, from the producers to the veterinarians, to the province, and to the pork board, they've all done an incredible job of dealing with PED,” she said.
The efforts of individuals working in the industry have made the difference.
“I’m really speaking to the human factor,” Christensen said. “You can set up whatever control program and restrictions, but it’s the people that really decide that they want to do this, that makes it work.”
People have come together in Manitoba from all parts of the swine industry for open discussions and information-sharing on the subject.
“We tend to think that if you write a lot of restrictions and procedures down on a piece of paper, that it’s fixed. But it's what happens in the real world, with the people and the individual person's motivation to make this work that makes a difference,” Christensen explained. “And I think that’s why in Manitoba they’ve come so close.”
National Pork Board and the Pork Checkoff, Des Moines, Iowa photo