Harvest Public Media
7:48 am
Mon December 30, 2013

Kansas And Missouri Hog Farmers Battle Deadly Virus

Porcine epidemic diarrhea virus continues to plague hog operations across the country, including Kansas and Missouri. The outbreak is raising larger questions about international trade.

The deadly virus has been detected in 19 states. Colorado’s state veterinarian Keith Roehr compares its spread to a wildfire.

“If you have an infectious agent, it’s like a spark. If you have a susceptible population it’s like dry wood,” says Roehr.

In this case the susceptible population is piglets. The virus has devastated the hog industry in some Asian countries and regulators are trying to understand what impact it will have here. It’s unclear how the virus entered the U.S., but Roehr says it could be imported feed.

“If we have policies of importing of feed products, are there gaps that make us vulnerable to novel viruses?” he asks.

Research is underway to develop a vaccine, while the hog industry attempts to contain the virus which in some cases is fatal.