On January 8, 2019, we announced that a 400-head hog operation in Alberta had contracted the porcine epidemic diarrhea (PED) virus. On January 15, 2019, we provided an update on testing that was taking place at pig sites across the province, including assembly yards, abattoirs and truck washes.
In partnership with Alberta Agriculture and Forestry, the investigation into the source of this viral outbreak continues. As of today, January 31, 2019, we can confirm again that no other cases of PED have been identified in Alberta.
Extensive testing has explored and ruled out several theories, including introduction by animals or animal transport conveyances. Unfortunately, no obvious source of introduction was found. There is no evidence to support other theories such as introduction by feed or equipment brought onto the farm. Definitively identifying the source of a livestock disease can be extremely challenging. During outbreak investigations, it is not uncommon for a source to remain undetected.
Since the outbreak was discovered, no pigs have left the affected farm. Several veterinarian visits have taken place, and animal welfare has been made a top priority. Work is underway to determine whether the animals are still infectious. Based on results obtained thus far, supervised animal shipments may resume in the coming week with negligible risk of disease spread or concern for welfare during transportation.
Enhanced biosecurity measures are in place to reduce the risk of the virus leaving the farm site. All producers should always strictly uphold their own biosecurity protocols. Preventing the further spread of PED in Alberta depends on a continual effort by producers, government and industry partners working together for the best interest of all stakeholders.
This is the first-ever reported case of PED in Alberta. The disease affects pigs but poses no risk to human health. This incident has not caused any food safety concerns, and pork products remain safe for consumption.
Alberta Pork will continue to communicate updates on this outbreak as new information is received. Read the official update from the Office of the Chief Provincial Veterinarian.