Canada detects new pig coronavirus
Agriculture officials in Ontario today announced the first confirmed cases of a new type of coronavirus in pigs, the first such detections in Canada. In February, animal health scientists in Ohio found the virus, called swine deltacoronavirus (SDCV) on four of the state’s pig farms.
The virus is closely related to a coronavirus detected in Hong Kong in 2012. Though it doesn’t spread to humans or pose a food safety threat, the clinical signs in pigs appear to resemble other swine diseases that are caused by coronaviruses: porcine epidemic diarrhea (PED) and transmissible gastroenteritis (TGE).
Ontario’s agriculture ministry said in a statement that the virus was detected in follow-up tests on farms where pigs had clinical signs of vomiting and diarrhea but tested negative for PED and TGE. Samples from six Ontario farms tested positive for the virus at Ontario’s Animal Health Laboratory and at the US Department of Agriculture National Animal Disease Center in Ames, Ia.
SDCV infections in pigs are similar but distinct from PED and TGE, and mortality rates from the disease appear to be lower than for PED. SDCV can cause vomiting and diarrhea in all age-groups of pigs and can be lethal in nursing pigs. Today’s announcement noted that technological advances allow new viruses to be detected on a regular basis; that numerous coronaviruses can infect humans, other mammals, and birds; and that it’s not surprising to find an additional coronavirus in swine.