The Canadian pig sector has been hit by an ‘unprecedented’ surge in cases of Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea virus (PEDv), prompting the NPA to issue fresh warnings to UK pig importers.
Nearly 50 cases have been confirmed in Manitoba since the deadly disease was found to have returned to the province in early May.
Those sites are in addition to the 11 confirmed cases between February 14, 2014 and September 21, 2016, according to the Farm Journal’s Pork.
A voluntary PED testing programme has been put in place at sites that move or handle large numbers of pigs, including livestock assembly yards, federal and provincial abattoirs, truck-wash stations and livestock trailers. As of July 5, 18,936 samples have been submitted for PED testing from 20 ‘high-traffic sites’.
Transport of pigs between the US and Canada has been blamed for the surge in cases, which has been described as ‘unprecedented’.
Federal Agriculture Minister Lawrence MacAulay has asked the Canadian Food Inspection Agency to examine its transportation protocols. CFIA discontinued a pilot truck washing protocol a year ago that was implemented after the initial 2014 outbreak, according to the Producer.
There are concerns the outbreaks could jeopardise the lucrative Canadian live pig export trade to the US, which has borne the brunt of the disease. A US outbreak that started in 2013 has killed an estimated eight million pigs and pushed up retail pork prices.
PEDv, which has also wreaked significant damage in other parts of the world, causes severe dehydration and diarrhea in pigs, and is generally fatal to young animals.
NPA senior policy advisor Georgina Crayford urged anyone involved in importing pigs to ensure they follow the measures set out in NPA’s recently updated Import Protocol, which is compulsory under Red Tractor standards.
She said: “The continuing spread of this devastating disease highlights the need to be vigilant and to ensure we take all the necessary precautions when importing pigs.
“The situation in Canada also highlights the need to ensure biosecurity is up to scratch on farms and, of course, when transporting pigs.”
She also reminded members that this is the type of issue the Significant Diseases Charter was set up for.
AHDB has a web page that includes a number of Standard Operating Procedures, which outline best practice and methods of controlling PEDv.