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Manitoba has first case of pig virus; no risk to humans, other animals

WINNIPEG - It appears a deadly and contagious pig virus has hit a Manitoba farm.

The Chief Veterinary Office of Manitoba said Thursday night that positive samples of porcine epidemic diarrhea virus from pigs on a weaned-to-finish farm.

The samples have been sent to the National Centre for Foreign Animal Disease in Winnipeg for confirmation.

Officials stress that there is no risk to human health or food safety.

Ontario, which was the first province to report a case of PED on Jan. 22, has 13 confirmed cases.

"The site has been contained and neighbours in the area are being contacted by veterinarians," said Karl Kynoch, chairman of Manitoba Pork Council.

Kynoch said the farm is in southeastern Manitoba, but wouldn't be more specific. He said the producer contacted his veterinarian as soon as the symptoms of the virus showed in the herd.

"All steps are being taken to contain the virus on the farm and an investigation has been initiated."

He said results on the samples could come Friday.

The virus is highly contagious, so it's crucial producers maintain strict biosecurity protocols and contact a veterinarian immediately if they see animals showing signs of illness.

"Strict biosecurity practices can reduce the potential for outbreaks," Kynoch said. "All trucks and trailers coming onto your site must be properly washed and disinfected. It is your responsibility to make sure that all trailers are clean before they back up to your barn."

PED virus has already killed millions of piglets in the U.S.

The virus is fatal for very young pigs while most older pigs recover.

Note to readers: This is a corrected story. An earlier version had an incorrect number of confirmed cases of PED in Ontario.

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