A deadly pig virus has hit 27 states throughout the country, including Vermont. In Massachusetts agriculture officials are urging swine farmers to take precautions. No cases of the Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea virus have been reported in the state. Amy Mahler is a spokesperson with the state department of agriculture. She says any sick animals shouldn’t be moved from an owner’s property.
“Animal owners should ensure that those people or professionals that have access to their animals are adhering to the same sensible biosecurity measures: handwashing, frequent cleansing and disinfection, changing of footwear and protective clothing, sort of sensible stuff,” Mahler says.
The virus typically kills young pigs. Ed Land Jr. runs a livestock auction house in Northampton. He says he’s seen about 70 to 80 percent fewer small pigs this year, compared to previous years. Land Jr. says he’s not sure that’s due to the virus, but he says the disease could have long term effects on the industry.
“When there are no little pigs, then there’s no straight hogs and no sows later on, it certainly will have an effect,” says Land Jr.
The disease is not transferable to humans or other livestock, and does not affect food safety.