ONTARIO officials have confirmed a fourth case of porcine epidemic diarrhea virus (PEDV) along the north shore of Lake Erie in Norfolk County.
Since April 2013, PEDV has killed an estimated 5 million hogs in the U.S., and given the highly contagious nature of the disease, it was just a matter of time before the virus crossed the border.
Canada's first case was identified two weeks ago in Middlesex County, Ont., and additional cases were reported last week.
As a result, the governments of Canada and Ontario last week announced a PEDV biosecurity program under Canada's Growing Forward 2 plan to help the pork industry contain the spread of the disease.
"Now that a second case of PEDV has been confirmed in the province, the scope and urgency of our efforts have changed significantly," Amy Cronin, chair of Ontario Pork, said. "After observing the devastating impact of the virus in the U.S. pork industry, we know an immediate collaborative response is required by all partners of the value chain, including government. We are dedicated to putting a strategy and measures in place that will aid in the containment of (PEDV)."
Biosecurity remains the best tool to protect swine herds. In an effort to reduce the spread of the virus, the new PEDV biosecurity program will help producers, abattoirs, truckers, assembly facilities and rendering service providers invest in additional biosecurity measures through the existing Growing Forward 2 funding assistance. The program will start Feb. 3 and will be administrated by Ontario.
"Our government recognizes the importance of the Canadian hog industry in creating jobs and economic growth. This investment allows Ontario to utilize the flexibility of Growing Forward 2 to support producers and the industry in improving biosecurity," federal Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz said.
In addition, Ontario is providing $2 million to help Ontario Pork support industry-wide investments to improve biosecurity measures at critical points across the province, such as at assembly yards and truck washing stations.
"Pork remains a safe choice for consumers. Ontario farmers always roll up their sleeves and find ways to overcome obstacles, be it fluctuations in weather or a disease like PEDV, and our government is here to help," said Kathleen Wynne, Ontario's premier and minister of agriculture and food.