Virus hitting pork producers hard - Fox 28: South Bend, Elkhart IN News, Weather, Sports

Virus hitting pork producers hard

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The Michigan Pork Producers Association says a virus affecting pork is running rampant on farms.  It's called Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea Virus (PEDV).

The virus essentially makes the pigs sick with severe diarrhea. The Pork Producers Association says there's a 100 percent mortality rate among young pigs that get the virus. Older pigs can recover from it.

Four to six million pigs are believed to have died from the virus that first came to the United States about a year ago. "We might lose as many as 12.5 plus percent of the total US pig crop this year as a direct result of the virus," says Sam Hines with Michigan Pork Producers Association.

The Association says Cass County is the state's second largest pork-producing county in Michigan.

"There are a lot of farms around here that have it," says Farm Manager of Jake's Country Meats, Nick Seelye. Fortunately, his farm in Cassopolis is not one of them, "We're hoping it stays that way," he says.

Seelye says Jake's Country Meats is taking every bio security measure they can to keep Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea Virus away. "Limiting people who come to the farm. Limiting traffic going, monitoring where we're going. We have special boots and clothes that we don't take anywhere else but the farm," he says.

Without a vaccine, experts say there's not much farmers can do to stop the virus. "The best hope is once it hits a herd, it'll run its course and then there will be some natural immunity built up," says Hines.

The Pork Producers Association stresses this is not a food safety illness, humans cannot get the virus.  However, the Association says pork prices are at record highs.

 

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