Virus killing baby pigs in Ohio and Michigan - 13abc.com Toledo (OH) News, Weather and Sports

Virus killing piglets in Ohio and Michigan

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The cold winter we just came through helped fuel a virus in pigs. It's threatening pork production and pushing up prices. The Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea Virus or PEDV has killed thousands of piglets across the country. It's hit farms in both Michigan and Ohio as well as dozens of other states.

The Wood County farm we visited is not dealing with the virus and they are working around the clock to keep it that way. Hundreds of pigs are born on the Reynolds Farm just outside Bowling Green every year. Chad Reynolds and his family sell pigs all over the country. They first heard about the virus from their veterinarian last Spring, "Everyday you walk into the barn holding your breath and hoping you made it through another day."

The pigs on the Reynolds Farm have not been affected and that takes a lot of work. They already had precautionary steps in place to keep their herd healthy like bleaching trucks coming in and out of the property but they've added a few things to the list, " I've been carrying Lysol with me everywhere spraying my boots and my pick up trying to prevent it anyway we can, it's scary. It's a hassle but at the end of the day it's worth it. You have to do all you can to keep it out."

Scientists think the virus came from China but they don't know how it got into the us or how it spread to more than half the states. The virus only kills the very young, older pigs can fight and survive it. So far experts think the outbreak has killed about 7% of America's baby pigs and that will end up costing the consumer, "Pork prices have been going up steadily for the last month or two and from what we're hearing there is no end in sight."

The extreme cold we dealt with this winter helped fuel the virus, "Normally you would think that cold weather zaps a lot of bugs but this virus is the opposite. We were told any temperature under forty degrees it thrived on. As you know, there were a lot of days this winter below that temperature!"

While the virus might hit you in the pocketbook, Reynolds says it won't make you sick,"It can't affect humans through consumption or even standing next to an infected pig. Dogs, cats, birds and other animals are not affected either. It attacks pigs and pigs only." Farmers and State Departments of Agriculture are working with veterinarians to reduce the spread and impact of the virus.

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