Seven million pigs in the United States were wiped out by a virus in 2013 and the price of pork and overall meat costs are now increasing to a record high.

The Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea Virus (PEDv) has been found in Mexico, Canada and Japan as well. The virus is reportedly not harmful to food or humans but France is set to take precautionary measures. The country has also banned live pigs and other related product imports from the U.S. to ensure that the deadly virus that caused the deaths of piglets in Asia and North America is stopped from spreading.

France suspends live pigs and sperm imports to protect its economy from the virus' potential impact. The country focuses not only on live pigs but also feeds that contain byproducts such as plasma from pig blood. Since the virus does not cause any harm to humans, the ban does not include pork for consumption.

China and Japan have also issued temporary restriction on pig imports from the United States until the countries reach an agreement with the U.S. on animal testing. China is the leading pork consumer in the world.

PEDv was discovered in the UK in 1971 and since then, it has not made any infection to other species. Health experts said that the virus is extremely unlikely to be dangerous to humans but noted that human PEDv infection may not be completely impossible.

The disease attached the pigs' gastrointestinal tracts and not the meat so there is "absolutely no reason not to continue eating pork," public health professor at the University of Wisconsin Christopher Olsen said. He added the there is no evidence of any infection of risk of infection to humans.

PEDv appeared in Ohio, U.S.A in May 2013 and has spread to 30 states since then. "about a tablespoon of PEDv-infected manure is roughly enough to infect the entire U.S. hog herd," Iowa State University's swine biosecurity specialist Rodney "Butch" Baker said. Hog producer Greg Lear from Iowa also said that losses can be catastrophic. He said that his barns were first infected of PEDv on Dec. 21, 2013 and his business was quickly overwhelmed. . "It was about 850 little pigs that didn't make it," Lear said. "For three weeks, it was 100 percent death. It was really tough."

ⓒ 2021 All rights reserved. Do not reproduce without permission.