U.S. Senator Al Franken, D-Minn., has joined a growing number of politicians calling for help in fighting Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea virus (PEDv).

In a letter to USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack, Franken asked the agency to “enhance disease detection capabilities for the virus; take measures to prevent its further spread; and stretch efforts aimed at developing countermeasures, such as drugs and vaccines.”

“The outbreak and spread of this disease is having severe economic consequences for producers, processors, and the men and women who worth throughout the industry. If this problem persists, consumers will face increasingly high costs for pork products at grocery stores,” Franken wrote.  

The senator also urged Vilsack to engage his “counterparts throughout the federal government to leverage additional expertise and resources in order to effectively address this crisis.”

Click here to read Franken’s letters.

PEDv was first identified in U.S. swine herds in April 2013 and has since killed millions of young piglets.

In mid-March, Senators Kay Hagen, D-N.C., and Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., also send a letter to Vilsack, urging him to approve disaster assistance for small pork producers affected by PEDv. Read, “Senators seek disaster assistance for pork producers.”