Archived Story

Pig virus still not reported in area

Published 5:01am Sunday, August 11, 2013

A virus affecting piglets and detected in at least 15 U.S. states, including Minnesota and Iowa, has still not been detected in Mower County, some say.

Steven Olson, veterinarian at the Austin Veterinary Clinic, has spoken with plenty of local farmers about porcine epidemic diarrhea virus but has not yet heard of any local cases. The virus, which kills piglets in about a day, was confirmed in the U.S. for the first time this May, according to the National Pork Board. NPB states the most common sources of infection come from hauling pigs onto farms, trucks, boots, clothing, or other things that can physically move the virus.

“I haven’t seen it in the area,” said Don Larson, who raises hogs near Sargeant and has spoken with Olson about the issue.

But that doesn’t mean he’s being lax about the issue, either. He, like others, is concerned the virus could eventually make it’s way to the area.

“It’s not a matter of if, but when,” he said.

Olson has advised all of his clients to ramp up their biosecurity standards and pay attention to what they are doing.

“Be very careful when visiting any place where swine are concentrated,” he said. “Like the packing plants, buying stations, county fairs.”

Among keeping clothing and transportation equipment clean, Olson tells farmers to watch out for birds. He said birds that have walked through pig feces could transport the virus.

“Keep the birds out of your barns,” he said.

According to the NPB, there were 378 confirmed cases in the U.S. as of July 31, and Olson had heard reports that the disease may have been found on a farm near Rochester and Clear Lake, Iowa, though he’s not sure if those reports are true.

While PEDV can be devastating to a hog farm’s operations, setting production back several weeks, Olson reminds people the virus is confined to only pigs.

“It has no health implications to other animals or people,” he said.

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