At least 19 hog herds in Minnesota have been hit by porcine epidemic diarrhea virus, or PED, an influenza virus that has proved deadly to young pigs.
Minnesota Public Radio reports that no one is sure how the disease, confined to Asia and Europe for decades, has come to the United States, but at least 200 hog herds nationwide have been affected.
The virulent form of diarrhea, MPR reports, can't be it transmitted to people, either through the air or in meat from an infected anima.
Still, the outbreak threatens Minnesota's $2.5 billion hog industry. Hog farm workers are being told to wash and change clothes when entering or leaving a hog barn.
University of Minnesota staff have tested more than 800 hogs nationwide for the PED virus. More than 180 were positive. For pigs under three weeks old, PED means almost certain death, she said.
"It is devastating," one Vet tells MPR. "And there's no question about that. Mortality rates have been reported as high as 100 percent."