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PED: Wynne Heads National Discussion

Premier Hosts Call with Agricultural Ministers about Pig-Killing Virus

By Amanda Brodhagen,

The Ontario government is leading the country’s discussion about Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea virus, also known as PED.

Premier Kathleen Wynne, who also doubles as the province’s minister of agriculture held a call with her federal, provincial and territorial colleagues on Thursday, where they discussed a national approach to addressing the PED outbreak.

PED is a disease which only affects pigs, and causes diarrhea, vomiting and dehydration among all ages of swine. The virus is often 100 percent fatal for suckling piglets, while older pigs typically recover from the illness. The virus does not pose a risk to human health or food safety.

On Thursday’s call Wynne told her counterparts that she is committed to helping the pork industry mitigate the impact of PED. “The pork sector is a critical piece of our agri-food growth plan, and we want to ensure that the industry continues to have the tools to succeed,” she said. “While this issue is currently within Ontario borders, the industry is best served by a cohesive national approach.”

The highly contagious virus has been spreading across United States hog farms since last spring, killing millions of pigs, affecting about 2,000 operations in 22 different states. Canada had its first case of the virus discovered last week, which was found on a farm in southwestern Ontario. Since then, four cases of the disease have been confirmed in the province.

“I’d like to thank the federal government and acknowledge collaborative efforts with all provinces and territories in preparing and responding to disease discovery (especially with CFIA) and allowing for flexibility under Growing Forward 2 to encourage biosecurity investment,” said Wynne.

Following the call, federal agriculture minister Gerry Ritz announced that the Canadian Food Inspection Agency will issue permits allowing veterinarians to import a new vaccine from the United States to deal with the virus.

Ritz says the manufacturer’s preliminary studies have shown that vaccinated pigs develop antibodies against PED. The vaccine is produced by Harrisvaccines Inc., based in Ames, Iowa, under the trade name iPED +.

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