OTTAWA, Ontario – Canada’s first positive case of porcine epidemic diarrhea virus (PEDv) was confirmed on Jan. 23, and has now spread to a two additional farms, according to news reports.

The first case was reported on a farm in Middlesex County near London, Ontario. The second confirmed case was discovered in a barn near Chatham-Kent, Ontario, Reuters reported. A third case is under investigation in the same area. The Chatham-Kent farms are finishing barns handling older pigs. Reuters reported that several hundred piglets have died at the farm in Middlesex County.

Organizations in Ontario and other Canadian provinces are mobilizing to prevent spread of the disease, which can cause 100-percent mortality in nursing piglets. The virus is extremely difficult to contain and more cases are possible.

“Manitoba Pork was informed on Friday, Jan. 24 that the PEDv case in Ontario is confirmed. We had an emergency conference call with provincial and private veterinarians Friday afternoon to assess the situation in Manitoba, and the implications of the Ontario case of PEDv,” said Andrew Dickson, Manitoba Pork general manager. “The emergency plan to contain any potential outbreak in Manitoba was discussed in detail. The most immediate threat to Manitoba producers is from infected pig farms in central Minnesota and the volume of truck traffic into the US directly.”

The Canadian Swine Health Board (CSHB) is advising the country's pork industry to implement strict biosecurity measures.

“Canadian pork industry stakeholders have worked together to develop contingency plans and to prevent its spread across the border,” the CSHB said in a statement. “The Canadian Swine Health Board [CSHB] was notified as soon as the case was confirmed, and is working with industry and government stakeholders.”

The Manitoba Pork Council advised its members to review trailer-cleaning protocols and establish entry protocols for people and materials that enter their farm. PEDv is quickly transmitted via infected feces, and studies have shown that PEDv can be spread by contaminated transport trailers.

“We urge producers to be vigilant for PEDv-like symptoms and to report all suspect cases to your herd veterinarian immediately,” said Karl Kynoch, Manitoba Pork chairman. “If your stock is infected, follow your vet’s instructions on eliminating the virus and alert visitors and neighboring producers.”