Source: Treena Hein, Pig Progress, 22 July 2020, photo credit: EPFL/New Atlas
While the world is holding its breath every time a new virus breaks out, veterinary researchers in the US and Canada have become particularly interested in the role feed has to play.
A team of leading experts dived into the question of how viruses might be shipped around the planet.
It was in 2014 that the North American veterinary community – as well as the worldwide feed and pork industries – started to realise that viruses were being transmitted in feed. Porcine Epidemic Diarrhoea (PED) broke out in the United States in 2013 and, by January 2014, the disease had arrived in Canada.
“We figured out quite quickly at that point that the outbreak here in Canada was linked to a certain feed ingredient, from the same feed mill, and soon thereafter a research paper was published by scientists at the National Centre for Foreign Animal Disease in Winnipeg Manitoba that showed the link was possible”, explains Dr Egan Brockhoff, veterinarian at Prairie Swine Health Services in Red Deer, AB, Canada and veterinary counsellor for the Canadian Pork Council.
“Then African Swine Fever (ASF) came along and since then in the US, Dr Scott Dee, Dr Megan Niederwerder and Dr Cassandra Jones and others have done a lot of work to look into how viruses can tag along in feed ingredients being shipped all over the world.”