Market News & Headlines >> New Strain of PEDv Found

A new strain of Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea virus, or PEDv, has been identified in samples taken from Illinois and Missouri, a top veterinarian at Iowa State University told Reuters News Service on Monday.

"We found that there is a variant out there that appears to be quite different than the original," said Rodger Main, the head veterinarian of Iowa State University's veterinary diagnostic lab.

More research needs to be completed, however, to determine if the new variant is a mutation or a different introduction of the original virus. "There hasn’t been a tremendous amount of sequencing completed and there will be additional work to determine if we can truly understand where it came from," he said.

PEDv is highly contagious and potentially fatal pig virus, especially for young piglets. The mortality rate for piglets that contract the virus is generally 80% to 100%. The virus does not affect humans, however, and federal officials have determined meat from pigs that survive the virus is safe to eat.

Executives of Tyson Foods Inc. estimated on Friday that PEDv will decrease U.S. hog supplies by 2% to 4% in 2014. They made the comments during the company’s quarterly earnings conference call. PEDv could be influencing up to 30% of the sow herd, the company officials said, adding that "in our plant locations we will see the effects in the summer months".

Efforts by producers to feed hogs to heavier weights will offset some of the head-count reductions, but wholesale price increases are expected, said Tyson Chief Operating Officer Jim Lochner.