New Vaccines May Have Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea Virus Under Control

We’ve been discussing porcine epidemic diarrhea on the site in the past, mostly in the context of it causing an increase in pork prices because millions of piglets have died. Good news for bacon-lovers and newborn piglets alike: there are two new vaccines conditionally approved to prevent PEDv, and another on the way.

The disease is exactly what it sounds like: a highly contagious disease that causes severe diarrhea in pigs. While adult pigs usually survive the disease, piglets do not. Until now, there were no treatments or vaccines for the disease, and farmers’ best hope was that sows either wouldn’t be exposed to the virus, or would already be immune before having a litter.

The senseless death of millions of piglets is causing an unanticipated problem: millions of piglet corpses. Piglets normally grow up to be pigs who are eaten, after all, so pig burials aren’t a normal occurrence. Environmentalists are concerned that the unprecedented numbers of pig burials could contaminate groundwater as the animals decompose.

Pigs that have had the virus pose no known risk to the pork-eating public: the disease is not communicable to humans.

Farmers Gain Weapon Against Devastating Pig Virus [New York Times]

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