Fatal pig virus spreads to 22 U.S. states: USDA

First discovered in April Analyst estimates at 
least one million hogs have died from the virus

(Reuters) — California and Wyoming are the latest U.S. states to report confirmed cases of a deadly pig virus, bringing the number of states affected to 22.


Porcine epidemic diarrhea (PED) virus, which causes diarrhea, vomiting and severe dehydration in hogs, has spread quickly across the U.S. hog belt since its discovery in the United States last April.


PED is not harmful to humans and is not transmissible through pork. It has occurred in Europe and Asia, but this is the first year that it has been seen in the U.S.


The virus has not been seen in Canada.


“An outbreak in a sow farm can destroy four to six weeks of pigs before the animals develop an immune response,” said Rodney Baker, a swine veterinarian at Iowa State University.


“Producers can easily lose at least a 12th of their annual revenue.”


The number of new cases in-creased by 134 for the week of Dec. 29, bringing total reported cases to 2,084, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Animal Health Laboratory Network.


As defined by the USDA, each diagnostic case could represent multiple animals at either a single farm site or several locations. The department released its latest PED data Jan. 9. 


As of Dec. 1, California and Wyoming ranked 28 and 29 in terms of total hog inventory with 95,000 head and 90,000 head, respectively.


The virus, which is transmitted orally and through pig feces, has left the U.S. hog industry scrambling to curb its spread and has fueled concerns U.S. hog supplies will slump in the spring and summer.


No official figures are available for pigs lost to the disease, but U.S. hog industry analysts estimate one to four million have died.