Sunday, 22 September 2013

Experts Fear Airborne Spread of Deadly Pig Virus

A deadly virus that's just recently appeared in the United States is killing off millions of pigs nationwide, and experts believe it may have a dangerous way of spreading: on the wind.

The porcine epidemic diarrhea virus, or PEDV, was long assumed to be spread only by direct contact, but now experts say it may be carried on airborne dust particles. "I would not rule it out," Dr. Montserrat Torremorell of the University of Minnesota's College of Veterinary Medicine, told Reuters. "There is a chance that airborne contaminated feces may have played a role in the rapid dissemination" of the disease, she said.

And PEDV strikes young pigs with menacing force: The mortality rate among piglets is almost 100 percent. Older pigs usually get sick but eventually recover, according to Pork magazine. "In the blink of an eye, 30,000 pigs were dead," John Prestage, senior vice president at Prestage Farms in Oklahoma, told Reuters.

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