A 400-head hog operation in Alberta has contracted the Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea (PED) Virus.

PED only effects pigs, and has previously been found in Ontario, Manitoba, Quebec and PEI, but this is the first time it has been seen in Alberta.

The virus poses no threat to human health and this incident has not caused any food safety concerns.

Alberta Pork Executive Director, Darcy Fitzgerald, says luckily the farm doesn't have any close neighbours.

"It mostly moves from farm to farm by transportation of either people or equipment, and it's mostly from the feces from the animals, but we still have our suspicions of birds picking up something, the wind at times, you know we just don't know."

Alberta Pork is working closely with Alberta Agriculture and Forestry to investigate the outbreak and prevent the disease from spreading. Staff from both groups are continuing to work with the farmer to help the animals.

Fitzgerald says this is the only PED case in Alberta, and the disease poses the biggest threat to piglets.

"Especially pigs under seven days old, the virus effects them severely. Usually we see 50 per cent to up to 100 per cent of death rates, so it's not something anybody wants to see. It definitely is a very serious situation for that farm and those animals on the farm."

Fitzgerald says the disease made its way into the United States from Asia, and was first confirmed in Canada in 2014.

He adds there's suspicions the disease came from Manitoba or the U.S., which they hope to determine in the ongoing investigation.

 

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