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PEDv redraws outbreak borders

The province has confirmed PEDv far from the Red River Valley region, where the outbreak had been largely confined

PEDv has been found far farther west than ever before.

Jenelle Hamblin, manager of swine health programs with the Manitoba Pork Council, confirmed that an operation near Notre Dame de Lourdes has tested positive for PEDv.

Why it matters: Porcine epidemic diarrhea virus (PEDv) is generally fatal to younger piglets and causes severe dehydration, and has now been found far farther west than ever before.

Manitoba’s Chief Veterinary Office (CVO) said only that a finisher barn “in southwestern Manitoba” had been confirmed with the virus June 24.

“The CVO is working closely with the owners, the private veterinarian and the Manitoba Pork Council to determine the source,” the department said in an email.

The case extends this year’s outbreak far west of the Red River — the virus’s typical western border — although two cases of PEDv were reported just west of the Red River in 2017.

Six cases had been reported west of the Red River as of June 24 this year, including barns in the Lowe Farm area, itself a western record at the time for the virus in the province. The province now says that five barns in south-central Manitoba are infected, as well as the westernmost case recently confirmed.

The virus has also spread to the north. Two barns in northeast Manitoba have tested positive for PEDv, the first time that region has reported infections. The virus has typically been found in southeastern Manitoba, with barns in the Steinbach and eastern Red River Valley area forming the bulk of cases during 2017’s historic outbreak, which reached 80 cases by the end of that year.

PEDv case numbers have now risen past levels seen at this time in 2017. A total 41 cases had been reported by the end of June 2017, compared to 44 as of June 24 this year.

Hamblin expressed concern when the first cases in south-central Manitoba were reported this year, concern heightened by the mystery of those infections. Cases that hopped the Red River in 2017 were attributed to direct animal movement, while the cause of the infection in south-central Manitoba this year was unknown.

“Manitoba Pork is encouraging producers and service providers to continue to follow the highest standards of bio­security,” Hamblin said in an emailed statement, noting that the CVO is still investigating the cause of infection near Notre Dame de Lourdes.

Experts say they are still working to pinpoint how the virus is spreading.

The new infections take this year’s outbreak out of the area most utilized by the pork council’s self-described best tool for prevention.

The council launched the Manitoba Co-ordinated Disease Response platform in 2017 in light of PEDv. The online sharing platform was originally targeted at producers in the southeast and has since been credited for the quick dissemination of outbreak and biosecurity information. At last count, almost 80 per cent of farmers in the southeast had signed on with the program. Province-wide, however, that number drops to just over half, despite efforts by the pork council to promote the program.

About the author

Reporter

Alexis Stockford is a journalist and photographer with the Manitoba Co-operator. She previously reported with the Morden Times and was news editor of  campus newspaper, The Omega, at Thompson Rivers University in Kamloops, BC. She grew up on a mixed farm near Miami, Man.

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