A virus that has wiped out as many as seven million pigs in the United States during the past year is pushing the price of pork to record highs and contributing to rising overall meat costs.

Porcine epidemic diarrhea virus, or PEDv, largely escaped public attention until recently, but the National Pork Producers Council (external - login to view) (NPPC) estimates it has already killed 10 percent of the country's pigs. Other estimates, including those of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, are lower, with losses projected in the 5 to 7 percent range.

The virus is highly unlikely to pose a direct threat to humans, according to health experts. But across the United States, individual farmers have had to deal with thousands of sick and dying baby pigs, an impact that Howard Hill, president of the NPPC, has described as "heartbreaking."


Virus Kills Millions of American Pigs, Pushing Up Pork Prices (external - login to view)