Home   Ag Industry News

PED update: winter warning

Despite PED-positive assembly yards, the pork industry is working to eliminate the virus

By Jennifer Jackson

Pork industry representatives are reminding farmers that with the arrival of winter comes a higher risk for porcine epidemic diarrhea virus (PEDV) transmission.

In Ontario, over 90 per cent of all PED cases have been eliminated, according to an Ontario Pork Industry Council (OPIC) and Swine Health Ontario (SHO) PED Dec. update.

Currently, less than 1 per cent of pig sites in Ontario are still infected with PED.

The OPIC update reminds producers of high-risk transmission points:

-          Some assembly sites in Ontario are PEDV positive. Any connection with high-risk contact points, such as these assembly sites or packer docks, must be treated as high risk for PEDV transmission.

-          Transportation is the link between your farms and these high-risk contact points. All involved parties should be aware of cab and trailer management practices including cleaning, scheduling, and disinfection.

-          And, when practicing these precautions, you are also aiding in the prevention of, and protection from, other diseases.

The virus presents a heightened risk in the winter, says Lori Moser, manager of SHO.

“PEDV and related coronaviruses survive better in cold, wet weather. This is compounded by difficulties in executing transport biosecurity protocols and cleaning and disinfection in the cold, snowy weather we are experiencing now,” she says.

And the virus itself is very infectious, according to George Charbonneau, veterinarian at South West Ontario Veterinary Services.

“Very small quantities of the virus are capable of causing infection,” he says.


Because PED is transmitted orally and through fecal matter, hogs can track in contaminated matter through trucks, or by foot on high-risk sites, says Moser.

In fact, transportation throughout the year is one of the most significant risks for disease transmission.

Assembly yards are a central component of the risk encountered in transporting hogs, according to Chris Byra, manager of the Canadian Swine Health Intelligence Network.

“Ontario has assembly yards positive for PEDV,” he says. Some assembly yards will likely remain positive in the future due to remaining positive farms and unreportable cases, according to Byra.

However, the yards carefully manage designated areas for input and output of hogs, thus limiting any unnecessary contamination and abiding by strict protocol. The strength of these protocols is demonstrated by the fact that “for nearly a year, there have been no Canadian cases (of PED) resulting from these assembly yards,” he says.

In addition to the assembly yards, there are still farms in Ontario that are dealing with the virus. This fact leaves some in the industry frustrated, says Byra.

The OPIC’s Area Regional Control and Elimination program provides producers with resources to manage and eliminate diseases of interest. Currently, the program is prioritizing the management of PED and porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome. Participation is voluntary. Moser hopes, however, the industry can eliminate PED at all remaining farms by the end of the summer of 2017.

“Our goal through the current work is to eliminate PED from Ontario swine herds with an effective response in place for any new breaks and use this work as a model to manage any future disease challenges,” she says.

“Producers should consider their high-risk contact points and take steps to reduce those risks.”

Click here to see more...

Trending Video

Finding her path back to the Swine Industry each time with Dr. Miriam Martin.

Video: Finding her path back to the Swine Industry each time with Dr. Miriam Martin.

Dr. Miriam Martin is Director of Animal Health and Welfare from the North American Meat Institute.

We discuss how she grew up in Swine Production on a small Hog Farm in Missouri. We discuss her enhanced career path, and exciting things in store at her job at NAMI. We discuss her mentor Temple Grandin, and her time at Colorado and Kansas State University and learning about Swine behaviour and pain research. We discuss ASF preparedness, Safeguarding Animal Health and finally if we need to define a leadership strategy or outside box approach to move the Swine Industry forward.

About Our Guest Dr. Miriam S. Martin grew up on a ranch in Meadville, Missouri. Miriam completed he undergraduate degree in animal science at the University of Missouri where she discovered her passion for animal welfare. She earned a Masters in livestock behavior and welfare in Temple Grandin’s group at Colorado State University before enrolling in a Doctoral program at Kansas State University in August 2018. Miriam is the first recipient of the FFAR Fellowship in the history of Kansas State University. Dr. Martin’s doctoral studies focused on investigating pain and analgesic strategies in food animals. These studies resulted in the publication of 8 first author papers and 5 co-author publications. Miriam served as the Midwest ASAS Graduate Director and the CVM GSA Vice President. She is also the recipient of a 2022 ASAS Midwest Young Scholars Award. Dr. Martin successfully defended her Ph.D. on October 2021 and she currently serves as the Director of Animal Health and Welfare for the North American Meat Institute.


Your email address will not be published