The porcine epidemic diarrhea virus (PEDV) is devastating pork producers across the nation with 14 states reporting cases of the virus in their herds.

Farmers have a good reason to be afraid of the virus, Dr. Patrick Graham, the owner of Ghrist Animal Clinic in Pittsfield, Ill., tells WGEM News.

PEDV spreads quickly and easily. Overnight, the virus can spread through an entire herd—and it only takes a few particles of the virus to do this much damage.

Graham advises Illinois farmers to be cautious of their hygiene. Although the virus only affects pigs, the only way to “prevent” the disease is to eliminate all possible means of exposure.

“It can be carried on your boots. It can be carried on your clothes, on your hands,” explains Graham.

Pigs aged three months and younger are especially susceptible to the disease, suffering fatality rates of 60 to 100 percent. For the consumer, this pig shortage translates into higher pork prices at the market. The virus has hit Iowa, the country’s top pork producer, and Illinois, the country’s third highest pork producer, hard over the past few months.

Researchers around the globe are trying to find a vaccine to the virus, and they’re working against the clock. If a vaccine isn’t discovered and distributed before winter, farmers may see an even higher death toll. Cold weather and moisture will quicken the spread and severity of the disease.

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