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Story Highlights

  • Local farmers are being urged to safeguard their pigs against the deadly Porcine Epidemic Diarrhoea Virus (PEDv).
  • The virus was first diagnosed in the United States in April, 2013. Since then, it has spread to 30 states and is responsible for more than seven million deaths in piglets.
  • PEDv is said to destroy the lining of the pigs’ gut, causing severe diarrhoea and dehydration.

Local farmers are being urged to safeguard their pigs against the deadly Porcine Epidemic Diarrhoea Virus (PEDv), by President and Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Jamaica Broilers Group, Chris Levy.

The virus was first diagnosed in the United States in April, 2013. Since then, it has spread to 30 states and is responsible for more than seven million deaths in piglets. PEDv is said to destroy the lining of the pigs’ gut, causing severe diarrhoea and dehydration.

Mr. Levy, who was addressing stakeholders at the Jamaica Pig Farmers Association’s (JPFA) 12th annual general meeting at the Golf View hotel in Mandeville on September 25, warned farmers not to take the threat of the disease lightly.

“We have to recognise the vulnerability in a small nation and the impact it can have on us,” he said.

The CEO noted that there has been a reported flare up and rapid spread of the virus in the United States and Canada, resulting in high mortality and significant shortages of pork in the U.S. The condition has also been reported in Mexico and the Dominican Republic.

“This pig disease that is surrounding us is a major issue. It’s a big issue, so do not treat the bio-security on your farms lightly,” he advised.

“We have a very unique situation in Jamaica…we are a small country and so we are a relatively clean island, especially as it relates to our livestock. We have to work assiduously to protect that, do not take it lightly,” the CEO added.

Mr. Levy said the agricultural sector in the U.S. is yet to come up with a solution for the disease or to curb the rapid spread. “They are still trying to find vaccines and other treatments, so it is not even nearly fixed,” he said.

In the meantime, President of the JPFA, Delroy Manya, in his annual report, informed that the association has conducted several meetings with the Epidemiology Unit in the Veterinary Services Division (VSD) of the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries, to update local pig farmers on the situation regarding PEDv.

He said the VSD has also made several presentations on the various bio-security measures that players in the industry must implement to guard against an introduction of the disease in Jamaica.

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