One Virus Has Wiped Out 10 Percent of America’s Pigs in the Last Year

And right now, there’s no way to stop it.

Oink.
National Journal
Marina Koren
April 28, 2014, 10:19 a.m.

Last spring, a killer vir­us sud­denly ap­peared on a hog farm in Ohio.

Now, al­most a year since it was first de­tec­ted, the vir­us has spread to 30 states, wip­ing out 10 per­cent of the U.S. pig pop­u­la­tion. The vir­us, known as por­cine epi­dem­ic diarrhea vir­us, or PEDv, tar­gets the lin­ing of a pig’s small in­test­ine, caus­ing ex­treme diarrhea. It’s highly con­ta­gious, and spreads by con­tact with in­fec­ted ma­nure or feed.

As many as 7 mil­lion pigs of the coun­try’s 63 mil­lion herd have died from PEDv since the fast-spread­ing out­break began, ac­cord­ing to Re­u­ters, sink­ing both rev­en­ue and mor­ale across U.S. hog farms. Here’s what you need to know about the deadly dis­ease.

No one knows where it came from. The dis­ease is not a new one, and out­breaks have been re­por­ted in Europe, China, Korea, and Ja­pan. But of­fi­cials have not found any clear evid­ence of how the vir­us entered the U.S. Some sus­pect the out­break ori­gin­ated in China, where a vir­us nearly identic­al to PEDv in­fec­ted pigs in An­hui Province. China has im­posed an im­port ban on U.S. live pork in re­sponse to the out­break here.

The un­usu­ally cold and snowy winter didn’t help. PEDv thrives in cold, damp en­vir­on­ments. The num­ber of re­por­ted cases of the in­fec­tion tripled between last Decem­ber and this month.

The vir­us is in­cred­ibly leth­al. PEDv is al­most 100 per­cent fatal in pigs less than three weeks old.

But not for hu­mans. The vir­us only af­fects pigs, and poses no health risk to hu­mans or oth­er an­im­als.

And there’s no vac­cine. But farm­ers, veter­in­ari­ans, and pork or­gan­iz­a­tions are try­ing to find one. The Na­tion­al Pork Board has already spent $1.1 mil­lion on re­search to un­der­stand how the vir­us works and how to stop it.

In the mean­time, farm­ers are step­ping up bi­o­se­c­ur­ity. This means im­pos­ing stricter stand­ards for clean­li­ness on hog farms. Some farm­ers re­quire work­ers to change their clothes when en­ter­ing and leav­ing barns, while oth­ers have banned out­siders from their prop­erty al­to­geth­er. Farm em­ploy­ees are stock­ing up on dis­in­fect­ant, care­ful not to spread the vir­us dur­ing their daily activ­it­ies.

The out­break has sent re­tail pork prices to re­cord highs. This time last year, pork cost $3.52 a pound. Now, the meat is selling for $3.83 a pound, an all-time high for the U.S. For meat-eat­ing Amer­ic­ans, sum­mer bar­be­cues may be pri­ci­er than usu­al. But don’t worry about chow­ing down — U.S. pork is still safe to eat.

And it’s spread­ing. The vir­us has cropped up in Canada, whose pork in­dustry is closely con­nec­ted to our own.

What We're Following See More »
BACKING OUT ON BERNIE
Trump Won’t Debate Sanders After All
3 days ago
THE LATEST

Trump, in a statement: “Based on the fact that the Democratic nominating process is totally rigged and Crooked Hillary Clinton and Deborah Wasserman Schultz will not allow Bernie Sanders to win, and now that I am the presumptive Republican nominee, it seems inappropriate that I would debate the second place finisher. ... I will wait to debate the first place finisher in the Democratic Party, probably Crooked Hillary Clinton, or whoever it may be.”

AKNOWLEDGING THE INEVITABLE
UAW: Time to Unite Behind Hillary
4 days ago
THE DETAILS

"It's about time for unity," said UAW President Dennis Williams. "We're endorsing Hillary Clinton. She's gotten 3 million more votes than Bernie, a million more votes than Donald Trump. She's our nominee." He called Sanders "a great friend of the UAW" while saying Trump "does not support the economic security of UAW families." Some 28 percent of UAW members indicated their support for Trump in an internal survey.

Source:
AP KEEPING COUNT
Trump Clinches Enough Delegates for the Nomination
4 days ago
THE LATEST

"Donald Trump on Thursday reached the number of delegates needed to clinch the Republican nomination for president, completing an unlikely rise that has upended the political landscape and sets the stage for a bitter fall campaign. Trump was put over the top in the Associated Press delegate count by a small number of the party's unbound delegates who told the AP they would support him at the convention."

Source:
TRUMP FLOATED IDEA ON JIMMY KIMMEL’S SHOW
Trump/Sanders Debate Before California Primary?
4 days ago
THE LATEST
CAMPAIGNS INJECTED NEW AD MONEY
California: It’s Not Over Yet
4 days ago
THE LATEST

"Clinton and Bernie Sanders "are now devoting additional money to television advertising. A day after Sanders announced a new ad buy of less than $2 million in the state, Clinton announced her own television campaign. Ads featuring actor Morgan Freeman as well as labor leader and civil rights activist Dolores Huerta will air beginning on Fridayin Fresno, Sacramento, and Los Angeles media markets. Some ads will also target Latino voters and Asian American voters. The total value of the buy is about six figures according to the Clinton campaign." Meanwhile, a new poll shows Sanders within the margin of error, trailing Clinton 44%-46%.

Source:
×