Pig disease may affect pork prices slightly

SOUTH BEND, Ind. -- A foreign disease is killing pigs in Indiana and across the country. Experts say it is safe to buy pork, but you may see increase in price at the grocery store.

The disease is known as PED and it attacks picks much like the norovirus attacks humans.

"The first time it goes through a sow herd, all of those animals are very naive and the babies don't get any protection from their mothers having had the disease prior," said Marianne Ash, DVM and Director of Animal Programs at the Indiana State Board of Animal Health.

Dr. Ash says some farms have lost 80 to 100 percent of their piglets to PED.

Because this particular disease cannot be transferred to humans, you can buy all the pork you want.

Experts say the price per pound should only be increased by a few cents.

"In terms of supply or what kind of damage it's done to the supply of pork; we don't have data at this particular point," said Christopher Hurt, Agricultural Economics Purdue University.

But with the data they do have, they can start to put together a picture of what might happen.

"I have visited with some of the buyers of hogs in the state and they're suggesting that it could reduce supply maybe in the range of one percent to as much as two percent this fall," said Hurt.

Which means instead of the normal drop in prices this fall, pork is likely going to stay around the same price it is now.

Experts are working to figure out how the disease made it to the US.

"The big concern for us is understanding how a disease that's exotic to our country makes its way here," said Ash.

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