First case of pig virus confirmed in P.E.I.

The Canadian Press
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Pigs are pictured at a pig barn at an Ontario farm in a handout photo. Officials have confirmed a case of the highly contagious pig virus that has ravaged herds across the U.S. has now been found in Prince Edward Island.

A professor at a Prince Edward Island veterinary college says his worse fears have been realized with confirmation of a case of the deadly pig virus porcine epidemic diarrhea on an Island farm.

"We were worried about the virus even before this break. We were hoping it wouldn't come," said Dan Hurnik, a professor of swine health management at the Atlantic Veterinary College.

The province's Agriculture Department says the National Centre of Foreign Animal Disease in Winnipeg has confirmed the presence of the virus, a highly contagious disease that has already killed millions of piglets in the United States.

The province is prepared to prevent the spread of the virus, Hurnik said.

"(Producers) have had training sessions on biosecurity, so what we're doing is reinforcing that training."

Hurnik said an investigation is underway to determine how the virus arrived at the farm, which has not been identified.

The Canadian Swine Health Intelligence Network issued a bulletin on Thursday that said a case of the suspected virus was detected by a P.E.I. veterinary lab overnight Wednesday.

The disease, which poses no risk to human health or safety, first emerged in Canada less than a month ago at a southwestern Ontario pig farm.

That number has since risen to 16 affected farms in Ontario and one in Manitoba.

The Canadian Swine Health Board said Saturday that the virus would be spreading more swiftly throughout the country if it weren't for stricter measures taken after the U.S. outbreak last May.

Executive director Robert Harding said the emergence of the disease gave the industry a warning and that, along with more vigilant farm practices in recent years, has helped minimize its impact thus far.



Organizations: Prince Edward Island veterinary college, Atlantic Veterinary College, Agriculture Department Canadian Swine Health Intelligence Network Canadian Swine Health Board

Geographic location: P.E.I., United States, Iceland Ontario Winnipeg Canada Manitoba

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Recent comments

  • Karma
    February 17, 2014 - 06:44

    Industrial farms can expect this kind of thing to get worse. We, as human "beings", should learn to respect other living creatures as "beings" and treat them as such. Just look into the eyes of any one of those piglets in the photo. Stop profiting from their suffering. Industrial livestock farms bring Auschwitz Extermination Camp to mind when I see them. Small general farms with diverse plants and animals are healthier and less prone to such epidemics. They also allow for more than just a handful of people to make a living. Farmers need to stop resisting the change or the change will be forced upon them by natural selection. Demand is growing for local, healthy, organic food. Try meeting that demand. Stop depending on chemicals to solve problems. The goal should not be to make as much money as possible for the least amount of work. The goal should be feeling good and feeling healthy. End of rant.

    • Stew
      February 17, 2014 - 18:59

      Well said. Outbreaks of this nature are the result of overcrowded inhumane conditions. I've decided to stop buying pork until I can find a producer who raises pigs humanely. I'm not a vegetarian but I understand why many people choose to be.

    • Insider
      February 18, 2014 - 09:45

      I can't believe that someone would be idiotic enough to equate the raising of animals to the slaughter of humans. Also, my understanding is the disease came into the barn from the feed and that would have no bearing on what size or type of farm it is.

    • +1 for Karma
      February 18, 2014 - 14:03

      Great rant Karma!! Industrial agriculture and their partners in crime, the food processing industry are societal parasites.