Second Ontario Farm Tests Positive for Pig Virus, Third Case is Pending Investigation
By Amanda Brodhagen, Farms.com
The number of confirmed cases of the pig-killing virus has grown by one, Ontario Pork officials said Monday.
A second case of Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea virus, or PEDv, has been found in Chatham-Kent County, about an hour north east of Windsor Ont. PEDv is a pig disease that does not affect people or other animals, and it does not pose as a food safety risk.
Dr. Greg Douglas, chief veterinary officer for Ontario said Monday, that a third case is also under investigation. An unidentified source says the third suspected case is in Lambton County. PEDv is usually 100 percent fatal for young animals (piglets), while older pigs typically recover from the illness.
The Chatham-Kent area farm reported illness in its swine herd Saturday morning. Samples were then taken to the University of Guelph’s animal health lab, where PEDv was confirmed over the weekend. Dr. Douglas said that officials are pursuing an “active investigation” into the farms affected.
It was only last week when provincial officials discovered that a farm in Middlesex County, Ont. tested positive for the virus, making it the first reported case in Canada. Dr. Douglas explained while officials believe there are ways to mitigate the spread of the deadly virus, he does admit that the second confirmed case, and the suspected third, “changes the situation,” he said.
The first reported farm is a 500 farrow to finish operation. Dr. Douglas said the mortality rate among two to five day old piglets is approaching 100 percent on this particular farm. The other two farms in question are 2000 to 3000 finishing barns, which have older animals, and about 15 to 20 percent of the pigs are showing clinical signs of the virus.
While the investigation into the source of the virus is still ongoing, Dr. Douglas said that officials have found an “indirect” connection, but wouldn’t elaborate further as to what that connection might be for privacy reasons.
Over the past eight months, the U.S. has been grappling with the virus, which has affected more than 2,000 farms spanning 22 states. In an anticipation that the virus might come to Ontario, the pork industry has been educating producers over the past several months on the best ways to protect their herds from PEDv. “There is certainty, lots of opportunity for producers to protect themselves from this disease at the farm gate,” said Dr. Douglas.
Amy Cronin, Huron County pig farmer and Chair of Ontario Pork shed some light into the emotional side of PEDv. She calls it a very “emotional” time for those producers who’ve been affected. “We do anticipate that this will be tough on our industry,” she explains.
If the virus continues to spread to other parts of Canada, beyond Ontario, PEDv could cost the Canadian pork industry an estimated 45 million dollars in losses, Cronin said.
The swine industry is asked to continue and maintain strict biosecurity protocols, and producers should contact their attending veterinarian immediately if they see clinical signs of illness.
Ontario PEDv Timeline
• Jan. 22 – Middlesex County, Ont. pig farm showed clinical signs of PEDv
• Jan. 23 – First Canadian case of PEDv (Middlesex County farm) confirmed and made public
• Jan. 24 – Federal lab upholds University of Guelph lab’s initial tests from Middlesex County pig farm
• Jan. 24 –25 – Chatham-Kent County farm showed clinical signs of PEDv
• Jan. 25-26 – University of Guelph lab test confirmed positive for PEDv from the Chatham-Kent farm
• Jan. 25-26 – Third farm (investigation ongoing) showed clinical signs of the virus
• Jan. 27– Second confirmed and third case under investigation were made public