WASHINGTON – Confirmed cases of porcine epidemic diarrhea virus (PEDv) continue to rise with pork prices following suit.

The US Department of Agriculture's National Animal Health Laboratory Network (NAHLN) reported an additional 257 cases of PEDv through April 5, bringing the cumulative case count to 5,509. Mississippi is the most recent state to report at least one confirmed case bringing the number of states affected by PEDv to 28. However, the NAHLN noted that cases have been diagnosed in Vermont and Virginia, which would bring the actual state count to 30.

Millions of piglets have died within a year. A recent Rabobank report stated that if the virus continues to spread, the shortfall to US hog slaughter could be as much as 15 million hogs in 2014. Additionally, the virus has caused pork prices to jump by 10 percent or more.

The virus was first detected in US swine herds in mid-May of 2013. PEDv is transmitted via the fecal-oral route and may appear to be the same as transmissible gastroenteritis (TGE) virus with acute diarrhea within 12 to 36 hours of onset. Piglets are especially vulnerable to the disease, which kills up to 80 percent of the piglets that contract it. The virus poses no food-safety risk and is not a trade-restricting disease.

Veterinary laboratories that voluntarily reported PEDv testing data include: Univ. of Georgia – Athens, Univ. of Illinois, Iowa State Univ., Kansas State Univ., Univ. of Minnesota, Nebraska Veterinary Diagnostic Center, Ohio Department of Agriculture, Purdue Univ., Michigan State Univ. — Diagnostic Center for Population and Animal Health, and South Dakota State Univ. The data does not include testing at private diagnostic laboratories or results of testing on feed samples.