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Manitoba pork farmers scramble to contain fatal virus

Virus is deadly to piglets, but does not pose a threat to food

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Manitoba pork farmers are scrambling to contain a virus that’s deadly to piglets and is rapidly spreading.

Andrew Dickson, general manager of the Manitoba Pork Council, says 51 pork operations are dealing with porcine epidemic diarrhea, up from about 40 a week ago.

Dickson says the virus has infected about 63,000 sows, or about 20% of the provincial herd, though pigs older than three weeks generally recover from the illness.

He says farmers are reviewing their biosecurity measures and getting strict on who comes and goes from their farms, while the provincial government is taking a lead role in a disease management group to co-ordinate efforts to stop the outbreak.

Between 2013 and 2014, the virus killed more than eight million piglets in the U.S., though it doesn’t pose a threat to human health or food.

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