The virus that could hike bacon prices
A deadly scourge has spread from China and Europe to the US, striking pigs in 15 states.
Meet the rapidly spreading virus that might goose your bacon and pork prices: porcine epidemic diarrhea virus, or PED.
The virus with that all too descriptive name was previously thought to exist only in China and Europe, but apparently it immigrated stateside this spring, The Associated Press reports.
In May, the U.S. Department of Agriculture confirmed the country's first case in Iowa. While it's not transmissible to humans, the virus has an astounding 80% to 100% mortality rate in piglets, with symptoms including diarrhea, fever, vomiting and, yes, death. The virus has now spread to 15 states at an alarming rate, AP reported.
"It has been devastating for those producers where it has been diagnosed," Dr. Nick Striegel, assistant state veterinarian for Colorado's Department of Agriculture, told the news service.
Already the market hog inventory is slightly lower than last year's because of a drop in Canadian imports and the outbreak could lead to tighter inventories, Nation's Restaurant News reported. That would result in higher prices for pork, requiring consumers to shell out more for bacon, chops and ham.
There's no evidence that the disease affects pork products themselves, Striegel told AP. So far, it has been detected in states ranging from Arkansas to South Dakota.
Unfortunately for bacon lovers, there's no vaccine for PED in the U.S., although cures exist in Japan, South Korea and China.
For pig farmers, the most delicate time is before piglets are weaned at 3 weeks of age. After that, mortality declines dramatically, the National Pork Board's Dr. Lisa Becton, the director of swine health information and research, told AP. She added that it's not clear how the virus spread to the U.S.
Becton added: "We know for individual farms the impact is severe, especially if it's a sow farm that has baby pigs, because baby pigs do suffer the most from the disease."
Follow Aimee Picchi on Twitter at @aimeepicchi.
Yeah, yeah, just like the bogus meat shortage of the 70s.
Make anything up to raise prices because the average American isn't squeezed enough, right?
Just another excuse to drive up the price of food? Beef is already grossly over-priced, while pork is cheap. Chicken used to be cheap, but also went up in price.
Hey, Smithfield, your sale to the Chinese just blew up?
In all seriousness, this really isn't any kind of laughing matter...
They tell you it's not transmitable to humans, they always do..
But pigs and humans do share some diseases and are anatomically similar in some respects.
They are used a lot to test human type drugs..
It would be very sad to see millions of little pigs, die off in this Country..
It would destroy the Hog price markets..
It will raise the prices on all other meat in the Marketplace.
It will destroy hundreds of Farmers...
And I want safe food in this Country.
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