Less than a year ago, United States agriculture officials discovered an ugly hog virus that threatening the country’s pig population. Now, that virus is reportedly spreading rampantly across Indiana, which could kill a large percentage of newborn pigs.

According to the Indiana State Board of Animal Health, the porcine epidemic diarrhea virus, or more simply PED, has already spread to farms in 43 of the Indiana’s 92 counties.

However, while this virus is a detriment to newborn piglets, officials say the disease cannot make people sick and will not cause any food safety concerns. “The pig’s only source of food is the momma sow, and she’s got the virus in her so it’s all in her milk,” said Sam Moffitt, pork production manager at Northwind Pork LLC.

Animal experts say the virus is usually fatal until piglets are a week old. The older animals will typically develop flu-like symptoms, but rarely ever die from the illness.

Indiana joins 26 other states in combatting PED, according to the latest data from the National Animal Health Laboratory. Some economists say this epidemic, in Indiana alone, could have a heavy impact on the nation’s hog industry.

The PED virus was once believed to only exist in Europe and China but last summer, officials confirmed it in the United States.

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