Until May 2013, PEDV had never been reported in the United States. Now it is in at least 20 states, including Illinois, and the president of the Illinois Pork Producers Association hopes it does not become widespread here. “Porcine epidemic diarrhea virus is the scientific name, and it's affecting baby pigs and causing some pretty good losses in the states that are getting hard hit with it,” says Dereke Dunkirk of Morrisonville, in Christian County.
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“They’ve said that in the first quarter, we might even see some reduction in slaughter numbers due to it.” The National Pork Board has said PEDV is not a threat to food safety. Dunkirk is a fifth-generation hog farmer and hopes to pass the operation on to his son.