(Updates with case in Quebec; details)
By Rod Nickel and Meredith Davis
WINNIPEG, Manitoba/CHICAGO Jan 23 Canada has
discovered its first two cases of the Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea
virus (PEDv), which has already killed more than 1 million pigs
in the United States, government and industry officials said on
The Ontario government is investigating a hog farm in the
province's Middlesex County after a laboratory finding of the
virus, Dr. Greg Douglas, chief veterinary officer for Ontario,
said at a news conference. Middlesex County is in southern
Ontario near the city of London.
Separately, one of Canada's biggest pork processors, Olymel
LP, said tests also confirmed the virus at an unloading dock of
its Saint-Esprit slaughter facility northeast of Montreal,
"What they have found in the U.S. is this virus is highly
contagious," Douglas said. "It has been very difficult for
producers to absolutely mitigate the threat."
PEDv - which causes diarrhea, vomiting and severe
dehydration in hogs - has turned up in 23 of the 50 states since
its discovery in the United States last April.
The virus, which is already established in Europe and Asia,
poses no threat to humans and is not a food safety risk,
according to the Canadian Swine Health Board.
Canada is the world's third-largest pork shipper.
There are no official figures for pigs lost to the disease,
but U.S. hog industry analysts estimate 1 million to 4 million
The virus continues to spread in the United States, with a
total of 2,394 confirmed cases in 23 states as of the week ended
Jan. 18, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture's
National Animal Health Laboratory Network (NAHLN).
As defined by the USDA, each diagnostic case
could represent multiple animals at either a single farm site or
An undisclosed number of pigs have died at the Ontario farm.
Douglas said the farm is not under quarantine, but the farmer
has agreed not to move pigs off it in the near term.
Quebec and Ontario are Canada's two biggest hog-producing
Canadian hog farmers have been on high alert since the virus
reached the United States last year, taking additional
biosecurity measures such as washing out trucks returning from
south of the border.
But the spread to Canada was seen as just a matter of time.
The virus can spread through contaminated pig feces on pigs,
trucks, boots and clothing.
Olymel spokesman Richard Vigneault said that, as a result of
extra testing, the PED virus was discovered on Tuesday at the
Quebec slaughter plant. The confirmed case did not affect
production, he said in an interview with Reuters.
PEDv has no known implications for international pork trade,
said Martin Rice, executive director of the Canadian Pork
Council. In June, however, Mexico restricted imports of live
hogs from the United States because of the deadly virus.
(Editing by Andre Grenon, Marguerita Choy and Jonathan Oatis)