CHICAGO, IL – The angry birds may have taken their vengeance on the pigs, but what’s happening in the real world is no game.
There’s a new strain of a deadly pig virus spreading quickly through hog farms in the United States.
It’s the porcine epidemic diarrhea virus, and since it hit the U.S. last May, it’s killed more than 7 million pigs and hogs in about 30 states. That’s more than 10% of the country’s hog herd.
The virus has been around for a long time, mostly overseas in countries in Europe and Asia. The strain running hog wild through the U.S. pig population seems to be closely related to a strain from China.
The virus causes severe diarrhea and dehydration. Older hogs just get sick and lose weight, but the newborn piglets die within a few days of getting sick.
The virus passes from pig to pig through poop, and apparently it is not a health concern to humans.
But it is a concern to people who eat pork products. Wholesale pork prices could go up as much as 25% in the next few months. That means we’ll pay more at the grocery store, or to put it another way, we’ll need more lettuce to bring home the bacon.