OMAFRA launches on-farm SVA surveillance testing project

OMAFRA launches on-farm SVA surveillance testing project
Dec 20, 2017

Producer participation will help determine if Ont. swine farms have been exposed to SVA

By Kate Ayers

Staff Reporter


The Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA) has introduced a new project for on-farm surveillance testing of Senecavirus A (SVA).

The project aims to find out if Ontario swine farms have been exposed to SVA, according to an Ontario Pork Industry Council (OPIC) release on Thursday.

“Senecavirus A is an emerging virus in swine that causes lesions similar to foreign animal diseases including foot and mouth disease. SVA does not pose a threat to public health or food safety,” Dr. Tim Pasma, co-lead for this project and veterinarian in OMAFRA’s Animal Health and Welfare Branch, said in an email to today. 

Prior to the start of this project, the government had not monitored SVA at the farm level or through direct animal testing. OMAFRA hopes the project will help with industry decision making and asks Ontario swine producers to submit samples for testing.

Participating producers must have non-clinical animals with no blisters and/or hoof lesions leading to lameness.

As long as there are no blisters or lesions on the pigs, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) and OMAFRA will not act in cases of positive tests for SVA, according to the release.  

SVA is not a federally reportable or notifiable disease, according to Pasma.

However, “if a foreign animal disease is suspected or vesicular lesions are detected in pigs, the CFIA must be notified immediately … and is required to initiate a foreign animal disease investigation,” Dr. Christa Arsenault, a co-lead for this project and veterinarian with OMAFRA, said in an email to today.   

“Detection of SVA antibodies in a herd without the presence of vesicular lesions provides information to the industry about the spread of SVA in Ontario,” she explained.

Producers that submit samples for this project are asked to complete a short survey. Participating producers must also provide Premise Identification Numbers (PIDs) on the submission form (available through OPIC and OMAFRA) and include a minimum of 20 serum samples from pigs located on a single premise.

“A 3-ml blood sample from each pig is required to perform the Senecavirus A (SVA) ELISA test,” Arsenault said.

OMAFRA will not reimburse cost of supplies and time for sample collection, as the project funds are allocated to maximize the number of samples tested. 

The submitting veterinarian and OMAFRA will be able to access the lab results but all test results will remain confidential. When the project is complete, the Ontario Association of Swine Veterinarians and industry groups will receive high level project results, according to the release.

For more information, contact Dr. Christa Arsenault at or Dr. Tim Pasma at

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