Northern Illinois Farmers Try To Prevent Hog Virus

Mar 10, 2014

Hog farmers are dealing with a devastating virus that is wiping out newborn pigs.

Ogle County Farm Bureau President and Polo, IL hog farmer Brian Duncan says he has seen the effects of the PED virus.

Electron micrograph of a US porcine epidemic diarrhea virus (PEDV) particle detected in a field fecal sample collected during a 2013 outbreak of PED on a farm in Ohio, USA
Credit CDC

"We are doing all we can, but I guess I have just been resolved that it's not a matter of if, but when," Duncan said.

Duncan says that includes limiting the spread between farms by disinfecting trucks and equipment. Once it appears, he says the best safeguard is to expose the virus to female pigs so they can build up an immunity. He says that can take up to a month, meaning a loss of a lot of pigs.

"This virus seems to still have life in the summer, but it will not be as virulent and it will move more slowly. I don't want to give any false hope that northwest Illinois is somehow going to escape this," Duncan said.

Tim Maiers is a spokesman for the Illinois Pork Producers Association. He says the virus poses no risk to consumers, but it does cause headaches for farmers. He says Illinois has had about 250 cases, although the numbers could be higher since reporting is voluntary. He says those cases have been spread throughout the state.

"We've kind of tried to encourage the producers to, as much as they can, [and] try to communicate when they've got it or they hear the neighbors have it," Maiers said.