When it comes to porcine epidemic diarrhea virus (PEDV) the world is watching, and taking action. The rapid spread of the disease across the United States has trading partners concerned, but even pork producers in unaffected areas are watching too.
China, where many believe the U.S. outbreak may have originated, is concerned about the disease, and has implemented an import ban on U.S. live pork. News of the temporary ban originated with the Livestock Exporters Association, and as noted in the report the Chinese government has yet to issue it's official ruling on the matter.
Tony Clayton, association president, notes that China has not yet issued import permits for live hogs, pending the agreements on a standard of testing the animals for PEDV.
Earlier, the Wall Street Journal reported that China will import live hogs only from herds that have been certified free of the disease, which will require USDA's Animal Plant and Health Inspection Service to provide certification, which the agency says it is willing to do.
Some observers say import bans on U.S. live hogs could help ease market worries regarding supply shortages caused by the disease.
Meanwhile, Japan, which has been dealing with the PEDV since October of 2013, has issued a clamp down on the highly contagious disease. The move is to help stop the spread of the virus which has already killed 39,000 piglets in 18 of Japan's prefectures.
The Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries for Japan has laid down very strict instructions for hygiene controls and disinfection of farms that must be put in place to keep the virus from spreading any further.
This is not the first time Japan has experienced a PEDV outbreak. In 1996, the country dealt with PEDV, and lost around 39,500 pigs. However, this latest outbreak is spreading faster and across more area than in the past.
In the United Kingdom, pork producers are watching what's happening in the United States and elsewhere and raising concerns about potential PEDV impact if it reaches that country.
British experts warn that if the disease strikes like it has in the U.S. killing more than 4 million pigs, the effect would be devestating for that country, and cause a significant spike in prices.
U.K. producers are being advised to be careful about using feed sources that contain spray-dried porcine plasma - though its link to PEDV spread has not been confirmed. And they're being warned about bringing equipment in from areas where infection is present.