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A deadly virus that has already killed millions of pigs in the United States and Canada has been found for the first time in Alberta.
In a tweet, Dr. Egan Brockhoff, a veterinarian with the Prairie Swine Health Services and a veterinary counsellor for the Canadian Pork Council, said a case of porcine epidemic diarrhea (PED) had been found on a farm in the province on Monday.
Highly contagious, PED is spread through fecal matter and causes vomiting and diarrhea in swine leading to severe dehydration. The virus, which has no cure, is deadly for piglets, with mortality rates ranging between 70 to 100 per cent. The virus poses no threat to human health.
“This incident has not caused any food safety concerns, and pork products remain safe for consumption,” Alberta Pork said.
PED was discovered in England in 1971. However, the first North American case of PED wasn’t found until May 2013 when an outbreak occurred on a farm in the United States. The initial Canadian case of PED was found in Ontario in January 2014. The farm, which was home to 200 to 300 piglets, experienced near 100 per cent mortality in less than 48 hours.
Until now, the virus had only been found on farms in Ontario, Manitoba and Prince Edward Island. Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Quebec and Ontario require producers with suspected cases of PED on their farms to report outbreaks.
PED is not a federally regulated disease in Canada, meaning cases do not need to be reported to the Canadian Food Inspection Agency. In 2017, Agriculture Minister Lawrence MacAulay ordered the CFIA to review truck-washing protocols after a record outbreak of the virus was detected in Manitoba.
Members of Canada’s pork industry are currently meeting in Banff, Alta for the annual Banff Pork Seminar, a conference organized by the University of Alberta, Alberta Pork and the Alberta agriculture ministry.

January 18, 2019

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