Deadly swine virus in Tri-States could affect pork prices - Quincy News, Weather, Sports, and Radio

Deadly swine virus in Tri-States could affect pork prices

PIKE COUNTY, Ill. (WGEM) - With beef prices at an all time high, pork prices may not be far behind as a deadly swine disease is wreaking havoc on confinements across the United States. 

The pathogen is called porcine epidemic diarrhea virus (PEDV). The virus destroys the lining of the intestine. The pig is unable to maintain hydration and nutrients, eventually killing it. 

Cases of the PED-Virus have been confirmed in 20 states, including Illinois, Iowa and Missouri. According to Agri-News, as of early January, Iowa had the most confirmed cases with 559. Illinois had 34 confirmed cases.

 (Read a statement from the National Pork Board on PEDV.)

Dr. Patrick Graham, owner of Ghrist Animal Clinic in Pittsfield, says the disease is now affecting swine in Pike County, Illinois. 

"There's one sow unit I know that has contracted the issue," Dr. Graham said. "The first symptoms we end up seeing is normally animals going off feed. A second symptom would be vomiting and then diarrhea."

With a case of PED now confirmed in the county, Dr. Graham says there's reason for concern.

"There is statistically an increased risk when your located within two miles of a facility that notably has the disease," Dr. Graham said. 

At Lynch Livestock in neighboring Griggsville, Manager Richard Myers is keeping up on sanitation protocols because the virus can be carried on clothes and hands. 

"We use bio-security coveralls when we go to a place to pick up livestock and plastic boots over our clothes so we're secured that way," Myers said. "We don't want to spread it to anyone."

As the virus continues to spread Dr. Graham says an eventual shortage of hogs could result in higher pork prices at the grocery store. 

"The price that the packer has to pay for the market pigs will go up," Dr. Graham said. "When they have these weekly losses they still have their bills but they have nothing to sell."

Dr. Graham says the virus is species specific to pigs. It has no health effects on humans and the virus can not be transmitted through pork you eat. 

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