Local Farmers Take Precautions As Widespread Pig Virus Reaches Q - News and Weather For The Quad Cities -

Local Farmers Take Precautions As Widespread Pig Virus Reaches QCA

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A disease that has killed millions of pigs since it showed up in the US last year is becoming more widespread, making its way to the Quad Cities Area. The Federal Government is putting new reporting procedures in place to monitor, and potentially stop, the Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea Virus. Local farmers are also doing whatever they can to save their pigs. They say getting the virus could mean losing all of their piglets, and a lot of income.

"If you get it, it's a huge problem," said farmer Greg Mueller, who raises up to 4,000 baby pigs per year. "It's one of those diseases that you can't see coming."

PEDV causes severe diarrhea in newborn piglets, dehydrating them to death.

"Everybody is very cautious to not get it," Mueller said. "It has made most people practice good biosecurity, do things that maybe we should have been doing before."

Mueller has taken on sterilizing the farm's nursery room, and letting it dry out for an extra week before the pigs enter. He also now sells the hogs further down the road so that outside trucks don't come to the barn.

"When we go in town, back to the farm, we have separate clothes and shoes for that," he said.

Mueller says getting the virus could mean losing up to a quarter of the farm's annual income. The Federal Government's new program will require farmers to report infections, send in fecal samples and participate in programs to help control the spread of the disease.

"In the long run, it's probably going to help out," Mueller said. "The more information they can have, the quicker they can track it down."

PEDV only affects young pigs. It can't spread to humans or any other animals. The national pork board says the meat remains safe to eat.

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