The latest news by the U.S. Department of Agriculture is that Nebraska is the most recent U.S. state to be affected by the deadly pig virus, the Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea virus (PEDv).
PEDv had never been reported in North America until May, when it was discovered in the United States.
PEDv causes diarrhea, vomiting and severe dehydration. Epidemiologists - experts who deal with disease control - have discovered that a large number of very young piglets that have the virus are dying.
Other reports indicate that although the disease doesn't commonly kill older pigs, death among very young piglets infected is around 50 percent, and sometimes as high as 100 percent, according to veterinarians and scientists studying the outbreak.
The hog belt... which includes Iowa, North Carolina, Minnesota and Oklahoma, has reported more than 1,500 confirmed cases, which could be doubled and even tripled once the virus takes hold.
Nebraska, the sixth-largest pork production state, had 1.35 million hogs spread over 2,200 operations as of Sept. 1, according to USDA data. These numbers could mean devastation to pigs.
The spread of the disease has heightened scrutiny of the U.S. trucking industry, as livestock transportation vehicles have been targeted as a possible means of transmission.
It is the condensed farming conditions in which these animals are forced to live that causes viruses such as PEDv, Swine flu, H1N9 and others to manifest. Animals living in small enclosed spaces are more likely to contract viruses, and in those close conditions - to spread quickly.
Many a virus has developed into a full blown epidemic on animal factory farms.
In light of the PEDv virus, new guidelines have been put in place to help thwart the spread and find the culprit. They include stricter standards for handling of manure by producers and commercial haulers.
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