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Food-safety agency clears path for pig-virus vaccine after Ontario infections

Pigs are pictured at a barn at an Ontario farm. Officials in Ontario have confirmed multiple cases of a highly contagious pig virus that has ravaged herds across the United States.


The Canadian Food Inspection Agency will issue permits allowing veterinarians to import a vaccine for a deadly pig virus that has been found on hog farms in Ontario.

Federal Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz says the manufacturer's preliminary studies have shown that vaccinated pigs develop antibodies against the porcine epidemic diarrhea virus.

Ritz said Thursday the vaccine will be available for use in Canada under veterinary supervision in pigs as a precautionary measure against the virus.

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The highly contagious virus – which has killed millions of piglets in the United States – continued to spread in Ontario Wednesday as officials confirmed a fourth case in the province.

Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne discussed a cohesive national approach to battling the outbreak with her federal, provincial and territorial counterparts on Thursday.

Wynne says she is committed to helping the Ontario pork industry increase compliance with enhanced biosecurity protocols, and national information sharing to mitigate the impact of PED.

"As the response progresses, we will continue to work at ongoing information sharing, close monitoring of the responsiveness of existing programming, and a high level of collaboration … across the country," Wynne said.

Ritz said the Chief Veterinary Officer of Canada is working with provincial counterparts and industry stakeholders to ensure co-ordinated leadership on the response to the disease.

"Today's announcement is another step in the CFIA's continuous efforts to work with the provinces to prevent PED from spreading in Canada," Ritz said in a release.

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

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A group representing Ontario hog farmers has said the virus is spread through contact with manure, which can cling to trucks, trailers, clothing and boots.

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