May 20, 2013
By P.J. Huffstutter
(Reuters) - Farms in two of the nation's leading pork producing states have tested positive for the potentially fatal porcine epidemic diarrhea virus (PEDV), U.S. pork industry veterinarian official said Monday.
Three farms in Iowa and one Indiana operation have confirmed cases of the virus, said Dr Lisa Becton, director of swine health information and research for the National Pork Board. The cases in Iowa were located on farms "all across the state, not in one specific area," Becton said.
PEDV does not pose a food safety or health risk to humans and the pork is safe eat. Other animals cannot contract the swine-only virus.
Still, this marks the first time PEDV had been found in the United States, and poises yet another challenge for hog farms still recovering from record-high feed costs from last summer's historic drought.
Swine veterinarians across the U.S. are collecting samples from pork farms that have reported possible cases and sending them in for testing at National Veterinary Service Laboratories and other sites.
Some veterinarians are also sending in samples of animal feed for testing, to see whether the virus was spread that way, said Dr. Keith Roehr, Colorado's state veterinarian.
"There's a lot of biosecurity and prevention measures in place that prevent the spread of disease. That's what's so puzzling in this case. To be in different states, and to have crossed between different swine operations and between different owners, all of which are painstakingly kept separate to prevent the spread of disease - that's unusual," said Roehr.