Cases of Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea (PED) have been identified in other Canadian provinces but Alberta has been PED free in pigs to date. However, the Alberta Agriculture Ministry has reported a positive environmental sample of  Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea virus (PEDv) in an office at a pig-handling facility.

Pig and piglets
Pig and piglets/Agricultural Research Services

Alberta Agriculture does emphasize that the environmental sample was not taken from a farm or a sick animal, but from an office space. Other samples taken in high pig-traffic areas at the same site, such as the loading dock and scales, came back negative.

Dr. Julia Keenliside, a veterinary epidemiologist with Alberta Agriculture, said the office where PED was found has been cleaned, and results of subsequent tests have yet to be received.

This positive test serves as a reminder to producers that any high pig-traffic site or vehicle could potentially be contaminated with PED or swine delta coronavirus, at any time. Producers must work closely with their livestock hauler to ensure all trucks are cleaned, disinfected and dried every time before entering a farm.

Other biosecurity measures, such as requiring clean boots and clothing for all barn visitors and cleaning and disinfecting load-out areas, should also be strictly enforced.

PED has infected 70 hog operations in Canada, all but eight in Ontario.

Porcine epidemic diarrhea (PED) virus is a disease occurring only in pigs, caused by a coronavirus that does exactly what the disease name implies: produces acute and severe outbreaks of diarrhea that rapidly transmits among all ages of pigs (epidemic). There is no risk to human health.

Huge numbers of virus particles are shed in feces. One thimble-full of feces could contain enough virus to infect all the pigs in the United States. The PED virus is being detected in samples collected from pig collection points, slaughter facilities, transportation vehicles and innumerable fomites illustrating the vast potential for transmission.

Since its appearance in the United States in April 2013, PEDv has spread within the swine industry.  In recent months, an additional related virus, porcine delta coronavirus (PDCoV), has appeared in this country. Industry analysts estimate more than 6 million swine have died from PEDv since the disease was first discovered in this country during the spring of 2013.

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