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Experts say pigs unlikely to be susceptible to Coronavirus (COVID-19)

The Manager of the Canada West Swine Health Intelligence Network says there's no reason to believe the new human Coronavirus, COVID 19, will affect pigs but it's always prudent to protect pigs from exposure to any infections.

11 March 2020, at 10:18am

According to the most recent update from the World Health Organisation (WHO), the number of confirmed human cases of COVID-19 worldwide has now surpassed 100,000. The virus has also been confirmed in the pet dog of an elderly patient in Hong Kong according to one report from global news agency, AFP. It is yet unknown if the virus can be transmitted to other animal species, but Dr Jette Christensen, the manager of the Canada West Swine Health Intelligence Network, says it is unlikely to impact pigs.

So far in Canada there have been 77 confirmed cases of the new human Coronavirus, including cases in Ontario, British Columbia, Quebec and Alberta. Dr Christensen says CWSHIN is tracking this new virus in a holistic manner.

"We know that there are Coronaviruses in pigs as well so we try to keep an eye out if this specific Coronavirus has any impact on pigs," says Dr Christensen in an interview with Farmscape.

"So far there is no clear evidence that the new human Coronavirus, COVID 2019 is similar to any Coronaviruses that we know of in swine.

"There is no very clear evidence that pigs might be susceptible to this specific strain but I also want to caution that there is so much research going on right now that this could change within a week or so.

"The only really good guidance that we can give right now is that, so far there's no evidence but it would still be pertinent to make sure that your pigs are not exposed to people having travelled and go on to the farm.

"That is really in the same lines as how to protect the pigs from African swine fever and any other diseases.

"Keep people that do not need to go into your barns out of your barns."

Dr Christensen says, with any new diseases, there's so much new information coming out and there's also a lot of misinformation and fake news circulating in social media. She suggests the one thing you can do is use only reputable information sources, such as the World Health Organisation website.

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