A virus that is deadly to pigs has been found in the U.S. for the first time, including in Iowa.
The virus only affects pigs, and can’t be spread to humans.
Farmers are doing everything they can to prevent it from spreading. Leon Sheets has been raising hogs for 33 years.
“Anything that we can do to prevent that getting in and affecting my farm and my pork population, that’s what we’re gonna do,” says Sheets.
He’s trying to protect his hogs younger than two weeks old from catching the porcine epidemic diarrhea virus, because the effects are fatal.
Sheets and his staff now wear special clothing and they shower before working with the animals.
Sheets says if the virus hits his farm, he could lose nearly 3,000 animals and that could mean an eventual shortage of pork, and a rise in prices.
That’s why Sheets says, he isn’t taking any chances, “We’re going to keep our animals healthy and we don’t like these things interrupting our production.”
More than 100 cases of the illness were reported in Iowa as of June 17th, but the farms affected by the virus are not being released.
The USDA says it is monitoring the virus, and will issue recommendations as necessary.
Pork producers who notice any illness in their herd should report it to their vet.