The executive director of the Nebraska Pork Producers Association says concern is spreading about a virus that’s hitting hog herds.
The first case of porcine epidemic diarrhea virus or PEDV in Nebraska was reported in January, but Larry Sitzman says the total number of cases is unknown.
“It’s not a disease so it’s not reported, the state vet, no one keeps track of it,” Sitzman says. “We know, from what we hear, it’s pretty widespread in the entire state now.”
Sitzman says the virus represents a new type of threat for producers as it’s very hard to avoid.
“We’ve done tests all over the state, as the national boards have, and it’s in restaurants, it’s in truck stops, it’s on the floors,” Sitzman says. “You just have to be very careful. We don’t know if it’s wind-driven, airborne, in the feed, but it’s getting spread.”
Scott Spliker of Beatrice, president-elect of the association, says the virus can be very difficult for a producer.
“It doesn’t affect the meat or anything like that, so we don’t have to worry about that, but the high mortality is in the baby pigs which is very devastating,” Spliker says. “It takes a toll on you personally, too, to see the death loss.”
Spilker is encouraging producers across the state to be cautious and do their best to avoid the virus. One way is to not wear the same clothes into your hog barn that you wore in town.
“Make sure that just in case it would be in a Casey’s or a Walmart or something on the floor, make sure you don’t wear those shoes in your hog buildings,” he says. “Make a definite clean line when you go into your building. Put on clean coveralls and clean boots.”
The virus first showed up in the United States last spring. It’s now in at least 26 states, including Nebraska, and has killed an estimated four-million pigs nationwide.
By Dave Niedfeldt, KWBE, Beatrice