October 23, 2018

More Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea Virus Cases Reported

The USDA has reported another 296 cases of porcine epidemic diarrhea virus (PEDv) last week. That brings the number of cases in the last 10 months to 4,757. The disease was first reported in the U.S. hog population in May 2013, with animals in 27 states infected. Unfortunately, each case report can mean just one animal has been sickened, or an entire herd at one farm is sick.

pigsThe virus, which is deadly for baby pigs, doesn’t affect adult hogs. The disease has killed more than 4 million piglets in this country since May 2013. This is most likely going to cause dramatic price increases at the consumer level in the next year, since hog prices are at record highs.The USDA’s estimate of hog slaughter on March 21, 2014 was 360,000, down 51,000 head from a week ago.

Scientists say that the virus does not affect humans, and this disease isn’t a food safety issue. Because the disease is so new, scientists do not know the cause of the disease or how it spreads, and there are no vaccines against the virus in place at this time. Biosecurity efforts, including cleaning trucks used for hauling and mandating shoe coverings for anyone entering a hog barn, may help reduce the spread of the virus. Some farmers hope that sows will develop immunity to the virus and pass that along to piglets.

Some in Congress are asking the USDA to declare their states affected by PEDv disaster areas. The USDA is studying the issue and working on PEDv research and control.

 

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