PEORIA – A deadly pig virus is sweeping through the country. In fact, Illinois is among the hardest hit. Millions of pigs, specifically newborns, have died since the virus was first reported in the U.S. last May.
The Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea Virus, also known as PEDV, is quickly spreading through the farms of Illinois.
Wayne Peugh is a long-time pork producer and farmer in Peoria County. He explained the illness. "It hits the stomach, it's similar to a bad stomach flu virus and these small baby pigs don't, can't stay hydrated.”
Newborn pigs are the most susceptible. For piglets, there is a very little chance of survival.
Creating a substantial impact to area pork producers, and there’s not much they can do to stop it. “The industry has worked hard at coming up with bio-security measures to try to reduce the risk of picking up that disease on a given farm, but there is no guarantee.”
Peugh said he worries about his swine every day. The disease is highly transmissible. Experts believe it could be through birds, rodents, or even human traffic from farm to farm.
The good news is people don’t have to worry about caching the bug. However, you will notice a spike in prices at the grocery store. Peugh said, “We're already seeing some effect.”
An effect he hopes starts to slow down. “We don't know exactly how many pigs have been affected by this, but normally domestically, we produce 120m a year and we're pretty sure there's been 5m pigs affected."
Experts believe the virus spiked in January and February, because it thrives in the cold weather.