Friday, January 31, 2014

Cold weather increases PED outbreaks

As predicted, cold winter weather has increased the spread of Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea virus, especially in Iowa.

Ontario got its first four cases, but the U.S. added outbreaks at 215 farms last week, the most since the virus first showed up in Illinois in April.

It’s believed to have come from China.

The recent jump puts the total number of confirmed cases at 2,692 in 23 states as of the week ended Jan. 25, according to USDA data (available for download here). Of those, 1,006, or some 40 percent, were confirmed in Iowa.

Ontario industry officials are optimistic that tight biosecurity will keep the virus from spreading as it has in Iowa and North Carolina.

The focus now is on trucks and truckers to ensure they have been cleansed of manure which carries the virus.

Hog farmers have been cautioned to insist that any livestock-hauling truck that comes on their farm has been thoroughly cleaned, washed, disinfected and dried.

They are also advised to have drivers stay in the cab of their truck while pigs are loaded to go to market to prevent any virus that may be clinging to their boots or clothing from coming into their barns.

Those precautions become all the more important now that PED virus has been confirmed at a hog assembly yard and a packing plant.

Another key precaution is ensuring that trucks that pick up deadstock are kept away from the hog barn and that there is no cross-contamination from where these trucks have traveled on the farm during deadstock pickup.

Complete biosecurity details are posted on the websites of the Ontario Pork marketing board and the Ontario Pork Industry Council.