It has really hit Ontario with its sudden onslaught and now the officials are hurrying to contain it. The pig virus is a highly contagious disease that has taken the piglet population in its deadly clutches.
Termed PED or Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea, it has the farmers and experts perplexed by its resistant nature. The viral pandemic has spread via hog manure that clings to truck tires.
And although the farm equipment and farmers’ clothes have been disinfected, it is all to no avail. The virus has finished off whole droves of hogs in the US. Canadians fear the same may happen in their territory.
The danger is that this new outbreak of pestilence among pigs may cost the pork industry many millions of dollars in losses.
"It's easy to imagine that we could have lost a million pigs, and before the winter is over I wouldn't be surprised if that impact would be maybe three, four times that," says Rodney Baker, a professor of veterinary medicine at Iowa State University.
Pork is eaten on a regular basis by Americans and Canadians. The erasure of whole porcine populations could cause a gap in the food supply that would be hard to fill in today’s times of scarce resources. But all is not lost.
The epidemic may be controlled within the nick of time. A vaccine has been almost developed. And as far as the price of bacon is concerned, it won’t be affected for now at least.
The disease kills baby pigs via dehydration, vomiting and diarrhea. Adult hogs can survive its ravaging symptoms. So the one million piglets that were decimated may cause no more than a slight dent in the market for consumable pork.