Pig Virus Mysteriously Returns to Indiana Farm

More herd loss and soaring pork prices expected
By Shelley Hazen,  Newser Staff
Posted May 28, 2014 2:52 PM CDT
Pig Virus Mysteriously Returns to Indiana Farm
Piglets eat from a trough at the 1782 Settlement Farm on Monday, June 10, 2013, in Middlesex, Vt.   (AP Photo/Toby Talbot)

Bad news for America’s hog belt: Reuters has reported confirmation of a second outbreak of Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea virus, or PEDv, at an unnamed Indiana farm, dashing previous hopes that afflicted pigs develop immunity and are safe from being re-infected for at least a few years. This confirmed outbreak follows several other unconfirmed secondary outbreaks, and the American Association of Swine Veterinarians has for the first time confirmed that 30% of infected farms are seeing a round two. But there are some promising stats: Only 30% of piglets born to sows infected by PEDv for the second time die of the disease, whereas almost all newborns die as part of an initial outbreak.

Meanwhile, pork lovers will have to contend with record pork prices that these secondary outbreaks could raise even higher. But hog farmers aren’t sitting on their hands—they comply with bio-security measures to contain the virus, and the Indiana farm in particular "does an excellent job of sanitation," says its veterinarian, noting that's one of the reasons experts are so stumped as to why pigs are getting re-infected. But without a fully effective vaccine and with transmission via fecal matter so easy—some believe it's spreading from farm to farm via truck—the PEDv wave has spread to 30 states and killed up to 7 million pigs over the past year. (Click to read about the controversial "piglet smoothies" some farmers are using to try and curb the spread of the disease.)

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