Canada’s first case of the disease occurred in Ontario in 2014
By Diego Flammini
Alberta has its first case of a disease that can be devastating to swine farms.
Yesterday, Alberta Pork confirmed the province’s first case of porcine epidemic diarrhea (PED) on a 400-head hog operation.
In nursing pigs, the disease can cause “up to 100 per cent mortality,” the organization said in a statement.
All known or suspect cases of PED in Alberta must be reported to the chief provincial veterinarian within 24 hours, Alberta Agriculture says.
The discovery of the disease is “definitely significant,” Dr. Keith Lehman, Alberta’s chief provincial veterinarian, said to the Calgary Herald. “We’re taking it very seriously and we’re putting as many resources as we can toward making sure we limit its spread as much as possible.”
The next step is determining where the disease originated, said Darcy Fitzgerald, executive director of Alberta Pork.
“Now we’re just trying to figure out what happened, how it got to the farm and try to deal with the pigs themselves,” he told CBC. “We’re hopeful that we’ll be able to keep it under control.”
Canada’s first case of PED came in January 2014 on a farm in Middlesex County, Ontario.
Since then, farms in Quebec, Prince Edward Island and Manitoba have contracted the disease. The latter province had 14 cases of PED in 2018.
Hog farmers in Manitoba urge their Alberta counterparts to take extra biosecurity and tracking measures to ensure the disease doesn’t spread.
“There’s a whole list of things producers can do to help make sure no disease enters the barn,” James Hofer, a director with Manitoba Pork, told Farms.com. “Tracking movements and knowing where trucks have been, and that they’ve been washed and disinfected at certified wash stations” are all important steps.
“Every time a pig gets transported, there’s a risk, so farmers need to keep biosecurity at top of mind.”