Deadly pig virus suspected on Prince Edward Island

A national agency is reporting the first suspected case of a deadly pig virus in Prince Edward Island.

Pork remains safe to eat but piglets particularly susceptible to porcine epidemic diarrhea

The National Centre of Foreign Animal Disease in Winnipeg says Ontario was the first province to report a case of PED on Jan. 22, and as of Friday had 13 confirmed cases.

A national agency is reporting the first suspected case of a deadly pig virus in Prince Edward Island.

The Canadian Swine Health Intelligence Network issued a bulletin on Thursday that says a case of suspected porcine epidemic diarrhea virus was detected by a veterinary lab on the Island overnight Wednesday.

The agency — which distributes information to the industry and government departments — says in a memo the regional test has been sent to the National Centre of Foreign Animal Disease in Winnipeg for confirmation.

The email says investigations have already started in P.E.I. to find out how the virus arrived on the farm, as it "initially appears there is no direct link with other cases in Canada."

The intelligence network says Ontario was the first province to report a case of PED on Jan. 22, and as of Friday had 13 confirmed cases.

Manitoba also reported a case Thursday night.

The disease poses no risk to human health or safety.

However, the virus is highly contagious and it has already killed millions of piglets in the United States.

Chris Byra, manager of the swine intelligence network, said in an interview the confirmation by the federal lab in Winnipeg is likely to come swiftly.

He also said in an interview that the pigs on the infected farm will likely be slaughtered at an abattoir and then the slaughterhouse will be disinfected.

Byra said the infection spreads through manure that pigs swallow as they're feeding.

In Ontario and Manitoba systems have been created to isolate the infected pigs at abattoirs and Byra said he expected Prince Edward Island would create a similar process.

Byra said it's important to swiftly control the spread of the disease.

"We have a pretty good opportunity to eradicate it from our industry, but it's going to take some months and it's going to take some discipline among the producers," he said.

The intelligence network doesn't release the name of the farm or its exact location.

Corrections

  • An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated the virus had been confirmed on PEI. In fact, it is suspected.
    Feb 15, 2014 9:00 AM AT

Comments

To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.