Feds commit $26m to fight pig virus found in Tulare County, elsewhere

The Fresno BeeJune 5, 2014 

Federal officials are pumping $26.2 million to help combat a devastating swine virus that has killed several million piglets in the U.S.

U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said Thursday that the funds will be used to support several efforts, including the development of vaccines, helping farmers with infected herds create stronger biosecurity practices and increased diagnostic testing.

Porcine epidemic diarrhea virus, PEDv and porcine deltacoronavirus, PDCoV, are decimating producers' young pig population.

Since it was discovered last May, the highly contagious virus has been found in 30 states. At least 10 cases have been discovered in California, including in Tulare County where a farmer lost about 200 baby pigs last winter.

"In the last year, industry has estimated PEDv has killed some 7 million piglets and caused tremendous hardship for many American pork producers," Vilsack said. "The number of market-ready hogs this summer could fall by more than 10% relative to 2013 because of PEDv."

The pig viruses do not pose any risk to human health or food safety, and they are commonly detected in countries around the world.

The reporter can be reached at (559) 441-6327, brodriguez@fresnobee.com or @FresnoBeeBob on Twitter.

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