A deadly virus has killed millions of pigs worldwide, however, there are no reports of the disease in Franklin County.
Ken Bolte, agricultural business specialist with the University of Missouri Extension, said he hadn’t heard any reports of pig dying in the county because of exposure to porcine epidemic diarrhea.
“As far as I know, we don’t have it here in Franklin County yet,” Bolte said. “Everybody is on alert and doing everything they can to keep it from getting here.”
According to The Associated Press, between 4 and 5 million pigs nationwide have been killed by PED. The virus is fast spreading and can do major damage, mostly striking piglets.
“It works on baby pigs, generally pigs three weeks or less,” Bolte said. “It causes diarrhea just like in humans. The diarrhea dehydrates them and they can’t absorb nutrients and they die. It can be as much as 100 percent loss.”
The Associated Press reports a case that was reported in northwest Missouri in December, killing thousands of piglets.
“It’s in Iowa and at least four states to my knowledge,” Bolte said. “It’s something that can be transmitted on people’s clothes, shoes.” Bolte said the biggest issue for farmers right now is there is no way to inoculate the piglets and prevent the virus.
“There isn’t a vaccine for it right now, and that’s the problem,” Bolte said. “Right now the only thing that helps is to keep it off your farm.”
Bolte said farmers need to be extra vigilant of where they have been to make sure they don’t bring the virus in and contaminate the pigs.
“The main term is bio-security, which means take care of what comes on to your place,” Bolte said. “If it’s on your own body, vehicles, visitors, implements, feed trucks — you have to be very careful.”
If a farmer suspects a piglet may be infected, Bolte said it’s imperative to call a veterinarian and keep the virus from spreading.
“It’s a very live virus and it can sure cause havoc if it gets in your herd,” Bolte said.