Last week, Alberta’s Ministry of Agriculture & Forestry announced a third and fourth case of the porcine epidemic diarrhea virus had been discovered at separate hog operations in Alberta. Alberta Pork is now clarifying that the third case was a false positive. As of now, the western province confirms 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. Alberta Pork apologizes 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 herds. 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.
Alberta Pork will continue to communicate updates on this outbreak as new information is received.