Pig Virus Threatens U.S. Economy

Experts are disagreeing about whether or not there will be another major outbreak of the Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea virus (PEDv) in U.S. pig herds this fall. The spread of PEDv was slowed because of warm summer temperatures, but it thrives in cold and damp winter weather and could quickly spread again when the weather cools. U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said he believes a new vaccine now available to pig farmers will prevent another outbreak, but many veterinarians aren’t convinced the vaccine will solve the problem.

The virus has already killed about 8 million pigs since 2013, or about 10 percent of the U.S. herd. It’s increased retail pork prices to all-time highs, and provoked some countries to ban U.S. pork imports. A renewed outbreak of PEDv could mean more income losses for U.S. pig farmers and create additional international trade restrictions.

Furthermore, some economic forecasters are worried the virus could spread to New York City’s financial district. “If the pig virus spreads to Wall Street, it would kill hundreds of high-speed stock traders and financial derivatives salespeople,” said Norm Crook, spokesman for the Alliance of Swindlers and Shysters. “The infection could also spread uptown to the diamond district,” Crook warned.

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