Friday, April 18, 2014

U.S. must report PED cases

Now it’s official.

Tom Vilsack, United States Secretary for Agriculture, has made it mandatory to report all outbreaks of Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea virus.

He has also made it mandatory to track the movement of pigs, vehicles and other equipment leaving affected premises. Movements would still be allowed.

The agency also is helping affected producers with disease surveillance, herd monitoring and epidemiological and technical support.

The government is also offering loans to farmers who need to restructure their finances because they have been hit by an outbreak of PED.

The U.S. moves go beyond anything that’s currently required in any province in Canada.

Several, including Ontario, Quebec and Manitoba, require mandatory reporting of PED outbreaks, but none requires quarantines, eradication measures or tracking of the movement of pigs, trucks or people that have been on a farm experiencing PED.

Ontario’s chief veterinary officer has criticized the hog producers and truckers who have not been doing a thorough job of cleaning, washing, disinfecting and drying vehicles where there has been exposure to PED.

He is also clearly blaming Grand Valley Fortifiers, the feed company in Cambridge, that used dried blood plasma from the United States as an ingredient in baby pig rations for the original 17 outbreaks of  PED in Ontario, beginning in late January. He did not name Grand Valley Fortifiers.

The company stopped using the blood plasma and immediately and notified its customers when it learned that its rations might be the source of PED outbreaks.

Since then the toll has climbed to more than 50 outbreaks in Ontario, including a number of finishing barns that sourced their pigs from infected barns.

There has been one outbreak each in Manitoba, Quebec and Prince Edward Island.

In the U.S., there have been 5,790 outbreaks across 30 states in the United States, claiming the lives of more than five million piglets.