The Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea virus that killed more than 6 million piglets in a U.S. outbreak that began in 2013 "could survive a trip around the world, if it catches the right ride," reports Harvest Public Media.
After examining USDA's handling of an epidemic that killed millions of pigs across the country, the Government Accountability Office said the department needs a stronger plan for dealing with disease threats. In a report, GAO faulted USDA for a lackluster response when the swine enteric coronavirus diseases were detected in May 2013.
Two years after Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea killed 7 million piglets and drove up pork prices, hog farmers have rebuilt their herds. The quarterly Hogs and Pigs report says there are a record 68.3 million hogs on the farm, "the highest inventory of all hogs and pigs since quarterly U.S. estimates began in 1988."
Less than two years ago, a deadly virus swept across U.S. hog farms and killed millions of piglets, starting a chain reaction that led to record-high pork prices in grocery stores.
Merck Animal Health, part of global pharmaceutical giant Merck, is buying privately owned Harrisvaccines, the companies said in a joint announcement. Merck said it has a "robust portfolio of vaccines across all animal species" and Harrisvaccines' specialty of vaccines for food-bearing animals and pets would strengthen the Merck line.
With 2015 in its final months, U.S. pork production, in a rebound from the porcine epidemic diarrhea virus, is 8-percent larger than a year ago and broiler chicken production is up by 4 percent, says the monthly Livestock, Dairy and Poultry Outlook.
The virus that caused an epidemic that swept U.S. hog farms probably entered the country in contaminated Flexible Intermediate Bulk Containers that carry many types of cargo, says the USDA.
U.S. farms hold 68.4 million head of hogs, up 4 percent from a year ago when the sector began to recover from the Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea virus that killed millions of piglets and drove pork prices to record highs, said the USDA in a quarterly report.
The U.S. inventory of hogs and pigs is up 9 percent from last June 1, and slightly larger than on March 1, the USDA said in a quarterly report that showed a dynamic rebound from the effects of the Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea virus that killed millions of piglets in 2014. The loss of piglets, along with strong demand for meat, helped propel U.S. meat prices to record levels last year and encouraged hog producers to expand their herds.
Researchers at the University of Minnesota have found a new strain - the third variety - of porcine epidemic diarrhea virus, a disease that has killed at least eight million baby pigs, says Reuters.
Prices for cereal, flour and bakery items will finish the year unchanged from 2013, an indirect effect of record wheat crops worldwide, according to government forecasts, and pork prices will fall by 15 percent in the new year after soaring this year. "Many items in the center aisles of grocery stores/supermarkets have seen lower than average inflation or even deflation year-over-year," said USDA in its food price report.
Hog farmers "are significantly ramping up pork production," says Farm Futures, pointing to the 4 percent increase in the breeding inventory in the three months ending on Dec 1 vs the same period in 2013.
The highly virulent Asian-American strain of Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea virus was found on a 5,000-sow hog farm in Ukraine, says ThePigSite. It says some 30,000 piglets died on the farm "in a matter of weeks" and cites concern the virus could spread into Europe.
The first case of porcine epidemic diarrhea virus was confirmed in Hawaii, on a farm in Waianae Valley on Oahu, says The Pig Site, and the state Agriculture Department has issued a guarantine order against movement of hogs on the west side of the island.
A third vaccine against Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea virus, which has killed 8 million piglets since mid-2013, is on the horizon, says the New York Times. It says MJ Biologics of Mankato, Minn, hopes to get USDA approval for its vaccine soon.
The World Organization for Animal Health says pig blood products are unlikely to spread the deadly Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea virus when used as a feed ingredient.
Food prices will climb a modest 3 percent this year, close to the long-term average of 2.8 percent, said USDA in a monthly update.
Researchers say they have confirmed that hog feed can be a carrier of the porcine epidemic diarrhea virus (PEDV), which has killed millions of piglets since May 2013, says The Pig Site, an Internet news site.