A Widespread Pig Virus Could Raise Pork Prices (Yes, That Includes Bacon)

Categories: Wake Up Call

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A viral epidemic is killing scores of piglets around the country.
Experts estimate that since last spring, an epidemic of porcine epidemic diarrhea, or PED, virus has killed about a million baby pigs at farms all over the country. The virus, which can cause deadly dehydration in baby pigs, has been spreading from farm to farm since it was first found in Iowa -- and Canada reported its first case earlier this week.

The good news is that lower feed prices might prevent pork prices from going sky high, at least for now.

See also: How to Roast a Pig with Bink's Midtown

Despite many farms raising bio-security measures, the virus has been spreading steadily and shows no sign of abating soon. PED virus can survive in tiny bits of manure and seems to thrive in the cold weather much of the country is experiencing. Even worse, the only vaccine currently on the market won't protect all piglets from sickness.

Rodney Baker, a professor of veterinary medicine at Iowa State University, told NPR that he estimates total losses by the end of the winter could be as high as 3 million to 4 million pigs. Though that's a small portion of the country's total swine herd, it's still a big loss for pork producers.

Farmers are trying to avoid a sharp increase in price by putting more meat on the pigs that are able to make it to market. And thankfully due to last year's large corn harvest, feed prices are cheaper than usual.

It's important to note that the virus doesn't pose a risk to human health. Other than the price of bacon that could hurt your wallet in the future.

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