DAYTON — Cases of a mysterious deadly virus that some say could drive up the cost of bacon have been found on at least a dozen farms in west central Ohio, according to Erica Pitchford Hawkins, communication director for the Ohio Department of Agriculture.
“It’s something that people who are raising pigs should be concerned about,” Ms. Hawkins said. “The mortality rate is so high.”
The porcine epidemic diarrhea virus has wiped out entire piglet litters on farms in 14 states since it was detected in Ohio in May.
Officials have confirmed its presence in about 200 hog facilities in the nation, the Associated Press said.
The 12 Ohio cases have occurred in west central Ohio, described as Dayton east up to Lima.
Ms. Hawkins could not identify the exact counties affected, but said Mercer and Darke counties, where the bulk of the state’s pigs are raised, are likely included.
She said the virus has likely killed piglets on other farms. “It is possible it can be confused for something else,” she said.
Ms. Hawkins said it is too early to know what the virus’ full impact will be. “The threat is certainly not immediate. It is not a pending doom.”
Pork is a $650 million-a- year industry in Ohio, Ms. Hawkins said, citing data from the Ohio Pork Producers Council.
The virus, which is not transferable to humans, previously had been found only in China and Europe.
Ms. Hawkins said officials are working to find out how the virus spread to the United States.