A deadly pig virus has been found in Alberta.
Alberta Pork reported on Thursday that swine delta coronavirus (SDCV) was detected at a pig-handling facility in the province during a recent check. It said the infected sample was not taken from a farm or a sick animal, and pointed out that SDCV is not transmissible to people and does not present a human health risk.
The disease does cause diarrhea and vomiting in pigs, and produces a high mortality rate in nursing pigs. There is currently no treatment or effective vaccine for SDCV.
The virus was first found in pigs in Hong Kong in 2012. By February it had spread to animals in the United States, and a month later it was confirmed in Ontario.
Pork producers in Alberta have been particularly vigilant during the past year in their efforts to avoid a related disease: porcine epidemic diarrhea virus (PEDV). Although it hasn’t been found in this province, PEDV has devastated hog farms in the United States and been confirmed in Ontario, Quebec, Manitoba and Prince Edward Island.
Earlier this month, Red Deer swine vet Egan Brockhoff said that 8,500 PEDV cases had been reported in the U.S., with about 50 new sites there testing positive for the disease every week. Canada had had just over 70 confirmed cases since Jan. 22, he added.
Alberta Pork has been actively testing for PEDV and SDCV at high-traffic sites like assembly areas, processing facilities and truck washes. Although the two viruses are related, mortality rates for SDCV appear to be lower, said Alberta Pork.
It said in a release that it’s working closely with Alberta Agriculture and Rural Development and the facility where the SDCV-infected sample was found to investigate the matter.
Alberta Agriculture and Rural Development is tracing and contacting others who may have been at the site.
Alberta Pork stressed the importance of ensuring that trucks entering their farms are cleaned, disinfected and dried. It also urged the use of other biosecurity measures, such as cleaning and disinfecting load-out areas and requiring clean boots and clothing for barn visitors.