Last week, we announced a third and fourth case of the porcine epidemic diarrhea (PED) virus, a disease that causes diarrhea and vomiting in pigs, had been discovered at separate hog operations in Alberta. Today, we are clarifying that the third case was a false positive. As of now, we can confirm three outbreaks of PED in Alberta in 2019: one announced in January, one announced in February and one announced in March.
The investigative laboratory identified the virus in a sample, but pigs at the formerly-suspected affected premise have shown no signs of illness. False positives are infrequent but can be expected occasionally in disease investigations, due to the sensitivity and concern for positive results. We apologize for any confusion or alarm caused by last week’s earlier announcement.
Alberta Pork continues to work closely with Alberta Agriculture and Forestry to fully investigate all outbreaks to prevent the disease from spreading further. Provincial stakeholders have been monitoring the situation to determine a source for all outbreaks, but none have been found yet, and any possible connection between the three outbreaks remains uncertain.
Strict biosecurity protocols are of utmost importance in limiting the impact of disease in agriculture. It is especially critical during this outbreak that producers consider enhancing biosecurity on-farm and in animal transportation. Producers are encouraged to submit all swine manifests, including farm-to-farm movements, in a timely manner.
Any place off-farm, such as an abattoir, should be considered as a potential source for bringing disease to your herd. Producers are reminded to review their farms’ biosecurity policies regularly and consult Alberta Pork or your herd veterinarian as required. Producers should also consult their herd veterinarians before making shipping decisions as a precaution if herd health issues are suspected.
PED affects pigs but poses no risk to human health. This incident has not caused any food safety concerns, and pork products remain safe for consumption. Alberta Pork will continue to communicate updates on this outbreak as new information is received. Read the official update from the Office of the Chief Provincial Veterinarian.
If you have any questions or concerns, contact Cristina Neva or Javier Bahamon, Quality Assurance and Production Team, Alberta Pork by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com. Alternatively, phone 1-877-247-PORK (7675).