CHATTANOOGA, OK (TNN) - A virus that affects pigs, causing severe diarrhea and dehydration, broke out at the Oklahoma Youth Expo last week--an event that brings together some of the best animals from all over the state. The PED virus sickened hundreds of pigs including dozens belonging to ag students from Chattanooga.
“A hog was brought in that had this virus and it just spread like wildfire,” said Dexter Matlock, agricultural education instructor & FFA advisor at Chattanooga High School.
Matlock said he and his students brought nearly 70 pigs to the show, and at least thirty-five contracted the virus. He said they started noticing symptoms in the pigs last Wednesday, and by Thursday the Oklahoma Youth Expo had issued a statement confirming it was the PED virus.
Matlock said it is unusual for the virus to have spread to Oklahoma.
“Iowa had it a couple years ago. That was really bad. This with the PRRS as well. They’ve had it really bad, but I haven’t heard about it this far south," said Matlock. "It’s usually too hot here for this virus to take place.”
Everything that came in contact with the infected animals needed to be sanitized thoroughly to prevent the virus from spreading outside the expo.
“The trailers, everything that hauled. We’ll clean the chips out, dispose of them in an area that’s not close to any hogs," said Matlock. "Then we will pressure wash, bleach, all of the above, but then get the temperature very high in those trailers. One of the biggest things that’s killing this virus is heat.”
Matlock said it is been a learning experience for him and his students.
“So, try to do our best on the biosecurity measures, and so my students are now learning that aspect and how easily something like this can be spread throughout,” said Matlock. "It’s not just our hogs that we’re worried about. Yes, that hog may have just seemed like it had a little stomach bug and it wasn’t any big thing, but it caused a huge impact on several people.
Matlock said that even though some of Chattanooga’s pigs were ill, they still managed to place well at the expo, winning several awards. He said they are now healthy and back at home.