Fatal pig virus now affects 22 U.S. states - USDA

Thu Jan 9, 2014 1:44pm EST

Jan 9 (Reuters) - California and Wyoming are the latest U.S. states to report confirmed cases of a deadly pig virus, bringing the number of states affected to 22, the U.S. Department of Agriculture said on Thursday.

Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea virus (PEDv), which causes diarrhea, vomiting and severe dehydration in hogs, has spread quickly across the U.S. hog belt since its discovery in the United States in April 2013.

PEDv is not harmful to humans and is not transmissible through pork. It has occurred in Europe and Asia but this is the first year that it has been seen in the United States.

"An outbreak in a sow farm can destroy four to six weeks of pigs before the animals develop an immune response," said Rodney Baker, a swine veterinarian at Iowa State University. "Producers can easily lose at least a 12th of their annual revenue," he said.

The number of new cases increased by 134 for the week of Dec. 29, bringing total reported cases to 2,084, according to the USDA's National Animal Health Laboratory Network (NAHLN).

As defined by the USDA, each diagnostic case could represent multiple animals at either a single farm site or several locations. The USDA's NAHLN released its latest PEDv data on Thursday. (here)

As of Dec. 1, 2013 California and Wyoming ranked 28 and 29 in terms of total hog inventory with 95,000 head and 90,000 head respectively, according to USDA data.

The virus, which is transmitted orally and through pig feces, has left the U.S. hog industry scrambling to curb its spread and has fueled concerns U.S. hog supplies will slump in the spring and summer.

There are no official figures for pigs lost to the disease but U.S. hog industry analysts estimate one million to four million have died. (Reporting by Meredith Davis; Editing by James Dalgleish)

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