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Researchers Working to Slow Deadly Pig Virus

Researchers are concerned with the spread of a deadly pig virus that has already killed close to 3 million pigs.
(MANHATTAN, Kan.) Researchers are concerned with the spread of a deadly pig virus that has already killed close to 3 million pigs.

Researchers from the Kansas State University Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory are trying to prevent the spread of Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea Virus. The disease kills almost all nursing pigs it infects.

The first case ever diagnosed in the U.S. was found in May. Since then, reaseachers have been trying to learn more about the disease and develop a vaccine to prevent it from spreading.

Until a vaccine is developed, one K-State diagnostician says the only totally safe form of protection is greater farm bioscecurity.

"Anything you can do to keep the virus off your premise, you do. So far there's really good information that says it's spread by trucks, dirty trucks that were hauling pigs. It's shed in the feces in very, very large quantities so make sure your trucks are clean and disinfected before you take them onto your premise or you can track the virus to your pigs," Dr. Dick Hesse said.

Hesse's research at K-State is helping determine how the virus spreads. The United States Department of Agriculture, the National Pork Board and universities are working together to control the virus before it kills more pigs, and possibly raises the price of pork.

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