government confident new vaccine will help fight pig
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[June 18, 2014]
By Sybille de La Hamaide
PARIS (Reuters) - U.S.
Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said on Wednesday he
was confident a vaccine approved this week by the U.S.
administration would help fight a deadly virus which has
killed millions of pigs in the United States.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture said on Wednesday preliminary
studies of a vaccine developed by Harrisvaccines "have been
promising" in controlling Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea virus (PEDv).
The virus has killed up to 8 million pigs and pushed pork prices to
record highs since it was first identified in the United States last
"I don't want to say the virus will be eradicated but I think you
will see we're on the other side of this," Vilsack said after a
speech to representatives of the French farm sector at the U.S.
embassy in Paris.
He added that warmer temperatures over the summer would weaken the
virus, while systematic notification by farmers of new PEDv cases
and higher biosecurity measures at farms will help in the fight
Vilsack ordered farmers earlier this month to start reporting cases
of the deadly pig virus and pledged over $26 million in funding to
combat the virus, pushing back against criticism of his handling of
Harrisvaccines' product is the first to win U.S. Department of
Agriculture conditional approval, which means it can be sold over
the counter but the company must continue to test its effectiveness.
"Hopefully by the end of the year we will be in a situation where we
can say 'yes folks (the vaccine) works', start producing mass
quantities of it so that farm producers around the world will not
have to worry about this," Vilsack said.
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He stressed the virus, which causes diarrhoea and vomiting and is
nearly always lethal to baby piglets, was a global issue and not
just a U.S. problem. PEDv has been found in other countries
including Japan, Canada and Mexico.
The crisis and the severity of the virus has disrupted international
pig trading, with 11 countries or regions, including Russia, the
European Union, China and Japan limiting imports of live hogs.
(Reporting by Sybille de La Hamaide; editing by Keiron Henderson)
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