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Urgent Disease Alert: Porcine Coronavirus Outbreaks in Ontario

On April 11, 2024, Swine Health Ontario (SHO) in association with Ontario Pork and Ontario Pork Industry Council sent out a special disease alert regarding increased cases of Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea (PED) and Porcine Deltacoronavirus (PDCoV) in the province. The frequency of new outbreaks and growing number of active cases provides a very high risk for an epidemic in the province. Producers and industry partners must be aware of the current situation and review and enhance current biosecurity protocols within their specific work to avoid further spread of these diseases.


PED and PDCoV are both porcine coronaviruses primarily affecting the gastrointestinal tract of the pig at any age. Clinical signs are severe in most cases and include watery diarrhea, vomiting and off-feed events. Outbreaks in finishing stage may present milder with limited mortality, but clinical signs are generally widespread. Low infectious dose and high survival in the environment are major challenges with these viruses.1


SHO reports active cases on their website which is available to the public (below). As of April 11, 2024, there has been a total of 30 reported cases of PED or PDCoV in Ontario, with 5 reported cases in April already. There was a total of 29 cases reported in 2023 and 21 cases in 2022 through the SHO website.

Transport of pigs and people have been largely associated with the spread of disease in the province in 2024,2 and practices surrounding transport need to be re-visited and refined. However, there is considerable concern with such a sudden increase in the number of cases along with spring weather arriving and imminent manure handling. It is important to not overlook the potential for disease transfer due to manure handling equipment moving among manure storages or farms. One 2016 study found that PED could survive up to 9 months in manure storages in the right conditions after an initial outbreak in a farm.1 In addition, a 2023 SHIC study reported that pumping events using tanks to transport manure to crop fields further away from the pumped site was associated with lower mortality (21% lower) in the following 2-week period when compared to drag hose use in association with PRRS and PED.3 This study demonstrated an association between the distance to which manure is applied and disease or mortality onset after pumping events.,3 highlighting a true risk of area manure spread.


Whether you own pumping equipment or a custom hauler is used, it is very important to evaluate where the equipment has been and discuss expectations around biosecurity. Discuss equipment downtime requirements and be present on the site during activity to explain where operators can travel, what protective clothing they should use and what methods for cleaning equipment before and after use are being carried out. It is also important to remember that custom manure haulers may also have certain expectations around biosecurity as well, and may require information about health status, practices and requirements on a site.


As we enter a very high-risk period for PED and PDCoV spread in the province, ensure any clinical signs are reported to your veterinarian. In addition, open and clear communication between producers and industry partners is key to prevent further cases and a provincial epidemic.


PED and PDCoV map



References:

Tun HM, Cai Z and Khafipour E (2016). Monitoring Survivability and Infectivity of Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea Virus (PEDv) in the Infected On-Farm Earthen Manure Storages (EMS). Front. Microbiol. 7:265.


Swine Health Ontario (2024). Transporter biosecurity Advisory: PED and PDCOV cases in Ontario, Senecavirus A in Quebec. Accessed April 11, 2024: http://www.swinehealthontario.ca/Portals/15/2024%20Apr%20Transporter%20Disease%20Update.pdf.


Swine Health Information Center (2023). SHIC wean-to-harvest biosecurity: investigating manure pumping effects on disease interim report. Accessed Apirl 11, 2024: https://www.swinehealth.org/shic-wean-to-harvest-biosecurity-investigating-manure-pumping-effects-on-disease-interim-report/.


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