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Imported vaccine may help contain deadly pig virus

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.

Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne and her federal, provincial and territorial counterparts were to discuss ways to contain the virus Thursday evening.

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

Spokeswoman Susan Murray of Ontario’s Ministry of Agriculture says authorities expect to find more cases since PED is so easy to transmit.

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.

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.