A disease that is often fatal to young pigs continues to spread in Minnesota.
The number of Minnesota hog barns with the porcine epidemic diarrhea virus, increased 14 percent over the past week, representing an additional 50 cases confirmed. Nearly 400 sites in the state now have confirmed cases of the highly contagious disease, first reported in Minnesota last May.
Veterinarians say the virus is largely found in hog manure, although it may be transmitted through the air. It kills half or more of the piglets that contract the disease, which destroys the inner lining of the intestines responsible for absorbing nutrients.
The disease can cost a hog operation as much as 10 percent of a year's production.
Iowa has the most PED cases with more than 1,000, followed by Minnesota and North Carolina. Nationwide, the number of cases increased by 10 percent over the last week.
The disease is limited to hogs and cannot spread to humans. Because the virus may reduce hog supplies, pork prices at the grocery store are expected to increase.