Deadly pig virus reported on 93 Michigan farms

Apr 16, 2014

If you eat bacon, prepare for higher prices at the grocery store soon.

Porcine epidemic diarrhea virus dehydrates and kills baby pigs.
Credit Steve Sawyer / Flickr

Porcine epidemic diarrhea virus is deadly to piglets, and it’s shown up on at least 93 Michigan farms. The virus was first seen in the U.S. about a year ago. It causes severe diarrhea in baby pigs that eventually dehydrates and kills them. It is extremely infectious  and so far little is known about how it spreads.

“What's really important here is this is not a food safety or public health concern,” said Jennifer Holton, a spokeswoman with the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development. “But it is a major economic concern for Michigan's swine industry.”

PEDV has killed an estimated 7% of piglets nationwide – and the U.S. pork supply is expected to see the effects of that toll soon.

“We do expect on average over the course of the next several months that retail prices will probably escalate somewhere around 15% on average, said Michigan Pork Producers  Executive Vice President Sam Hines.

Hines says the federal government has set aside $30 million to learn how it spreads and to find a vaccine, but so far that money has not yet been approved.