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Pig virus could impact consumers

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Amarillo, TX - A virus affecting pigs may have an impact on your next trip to the grocery store.

The virus is currently plaguing pigs in the Midwest and has the potential to affect us here in Texas.

PEDV or Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea Virus is causing concern for the swine industry.

"It causes extreme vomiting and diarrhea and unfortunately with it we get severe dehydration wand we do experience some loss due to the effects of PEDV," said Nathan Carr who is the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Expert in Potter County.

However the virus only affects pigs and cannot be shared with other animals or humans.

There is currently not a vaccine for the virus, but one is being produced.

Agriculture Experts are concerned if the virus outbreak gets big enough it could begin to affect consumers.

"If this virus gets extremely bad and it gets an extreme outbreak, certainly we can see that affect on consumers at some point in time, we could see the price of pork potentially going up there is less pork out there on the market for consumers to purchase," Carr said.

A local economist says there has already been an affect on pork prices this year.

"The Chicago Board of Trade said it's gone up about 45 percent since the beginning of the year, so there are still a lot of things being worked out, but if the virus continues to spread and it becomes a larger problem then you see pork prices go up more," said Dr. Neil Meredith who is an Assistant Professor of Economics at West Texas A&M University.

And Meredith says if prices do increase, consumers will notice it first at the check-out line.

"Grocery store prices will probably move a little quicker," Meredith said. "For the everyday person you'll notice your food costs will be a little higher, you might have to get a little more creative with how you incorporate protein in your diet."

The virus has been around for many years, but first showed up in the United States in May of last year.
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