By Jeremy Culver, Multimedia Journalist - bio | email
TAYLOR, Mo. (WGEM) -
Hog farmers are hopeful warmer temperatures will finally kill the deadly porcine epidemic diarrhea virus. The U.S. Department of Agriculture reports five million hogs have died from the PED virus since it was first discovered last May.
The PED virus destroys the lining of a hog's intestines. It causes pigs to lose hydration and nutrients, eventually killing them. Northeast Missouri farmer Jesse Heimer says the virus is highly contagious and easily spreads on clothing, shoes, or even through air. He says that makes it extremely difficult for farmers to contain.
Heimer says this winter, pigs at his farm in Taylor tested positive. Despite trying to prevent it, Heimer believes birds spread the virus to his livestock.
"The winter season that we had, as difficult it was for the general public, it was really difficult for livestock producers, and the virus does thrive in cold temperatures," Heimer said. "Because of the cold temperatures, birds spent a lot of time inside our open buildings. We still run a lot of hogs outside and naturally their exposed to the birds and the elements."
Heimer says for the last month, he has received negative test results for the virus. Heimer says that there is no vaccine for the virus yet and the best way to battle the virus is with warmer temperatures.
"What we really need is heat," Heimer said. "We need warm temperatures. No different than the crop guys need heat, we need heat, too. That's the most detrimental thing to the virus is heat. We need some sustained warm days. I think once we do that we will get into a more comfortable situation dealing with the virus."
Heimer says the virus has no health effects on humans. He says pork is safe to eat, but prices are recently on the rise because there are fewer pigs in circulation.
Thursday, August 28 2014 5:39 PM EDT2014-08-28 21:39:51 GMT
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