Pig Virus Makes Its Way From the U.S. to Canada

    January 29, 2014

A deadly virus known as porcine epidemic diarrhea (PEDv) is spreading among hog herds in Canada and is said to be affecting two provinces.

The pig virus, which was tested positive in the United States last May, has now made its way to the farm regions of Ontario and Quebec.

Twenty-three hog herds (equivalent to 66 million animals) in the U.S. infections included vomiting and diarrhea caused by the virus epidemic.

A farm located in Middlesex County was the first to notice that its herd picked up the disease.

NPR reported:

“Since its arrival, PED has been spreading relentlessly…PED spreads within barns and from farm to farm, even when strict biosecurity measures — hand-washing for livestock workers — are in place. That’s because it can survive in tiny bits of manure that travel on boots or trucks.”

Although investigators have reported that the virus will neither affect human health nor prices on bacon, the Canadian Swine Health Board has clarified how deadly this virus can be.

Piglets are in more danger of its symptoms than are full-grown pigs.

Since the disease thrives better in colder conditions, baby pigs are affected more by the diarrhea, which results in severe dehydration. An increase in affected pigs may be devastating for Canada’s swine population, resulting in a high mortality rate.

The Olymel S.E.C. LP processing facility’s spokesman, Richard Vigneaul, told Bloomberg “the virus may have ‘a very serious economic impact’ on Canada’s pork industry if it spreads and reduces the supply of pigs.”

Canada’s herd, unfortunately, has no immunity to PEDv. However, Vigneaul has reassured that they have taken disinfecting measures to help stop the dispersion of the disease.

The RNA Particle Vaccine, an already existing immunization by Harrisvaccines, has been used in U.S. farms but shows no guaranteed resilience to PEDv.

Animal health companies are still working on a second vaccination that will prevent pigs from further contracting PEDv.

Image via Wikimedia Commons