Deadly pig virus prevention steps urged in N.B.

A deadly and highly contagious pig virus has not been detected in New Brunswick yet, but the provincial government is urging pork producers to take preventative steps to help prevent it from spreading.

Pork producers should disinfect trucks to stop spread of porcine epidemic diarrhea, government says

The New Brunswick government is advising pork producers to restrict visitors to farms and ensure pig-hauling trucks are thoroughly washed and disinfected before entering farms to help prevent the spread of a deadly pig virus recently confirmed to be in the Maritimes.

Porcine epidemic diarrhea was detected earlier this month at a P.E.I. farm, which has not been publicly identified.

Cases have also been confirmed in Ontario, Manitoba and Quebec.

The virus is highly contagious among piglets and is spread through contact with manure, which can cling to trucks, trailers and even clothing and boots, officials have said.

It does not pose a risk to human health or food safety, according to the Canadian Food Inspection Agency.

“While the virus has not been detected in New Brunswick yet, the department has been proactive on this issue by working with pork producers since last fall to raise their awareness and to review and heighten their bio-security practices to prevent the spread of the disease,” Agriculture, Aquaculture and Fisheries Minister Michael Olscamp said in a statement.

Department veterinarians have been in regular communication with their counterparts and with the industry across the country to monitor the situation, said Olscamp.

Pork production was an $11 million industry in New Brunswick in 2012.

The pig virus originated in Europe and Asia and was detected last May in the United States, where it has since killed millions of piglets and caused pork prices to rise.

The first case in Canada was confirmed in Ontario on Jan. 22. Since then, at least four more cases have been reported.

Manitoba had its first case earlier this month and the virus surfaced in Quebec just last weekend.

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency has said it will issue permits allowing veterinarians to import a vaccine for the virus as a precautionary measure.