Fatal pig virus spreads in U.S. hog herd

Reuters — The number of confirmed cases of a deadly pig virus that is spreading across the U.S. Hog Belt rose by 122 in the latest week, according to the USDA’s National Animal Health Laboratory Network (NAHLN).

That brings the total to 2,394 in 23 states as of the week ended Jan. 18. But the rise was less than the previous week’s when USDA reported 190 new cases. About one third of the cases, 882, were confirmed in Iowa, the top U.S. pork producing state.

Porcine epidemic diarrhea virus (PEDv), which causes diarrhea, vomiting and severe dehydration in hogs, has been transmitted in 23 states since its discovery in the U.S. in April 2013.

Tom Burkgren, executive director of the American Association of Swine Veterinarians, which compiles and publishes the data, could not explain the smaller increase in cases in the latest week, since data collection is voluntary.

“We do not have any control of who submits samples. There is no regulatory requirement to submit samples — it is totally voluntary,” Burkgren said.

As defined by the USDA, each diagnostic case could represent multiple animals at either a single farm site or several locations. The USDA’s NAHLN released its latest PEDv data on Thursday.

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

— Reporting for Reuters by Meredith Davis.

Related story:
Piglet diarrhea virus confirmed on Ont. hog farm, Jan. 23, 2014

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