Virus killing millions of baby pigs and raising pork prices

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ST. LOUIS, MO (KTVI) - Your favorite barbeque is going to put a bigger hole in your wallet this summer.

"The prices are the worst I've ever seen since I've owned this store. I think we're gonna see an increase throughout the summer and then I think it will fall off come fall." said Mark Lengacher, owner of Schneider's Meat Market.

It's all because of a new, virus that has veterinarians like Dr. Dwight Boehm on guard. "We want bio-security, bio-security, bio-security. We want to shower in, shower out, disinfect our boots, disinfect the trailers, disinfect when anyone comes to the farm. So, bio-security is a big thing." said Waterloo Veterinarian Dr. Dwight Boehm.

Boehm works with Cedar Ridge Farm, the biggest hog breeding operation in Monroe County. "Right now our farms in Metro East that I deal with, we're not seeing any clinical signs of the diarrhea."

The owner has clamped down. We went to our video files for these pictures recorded nearly three years ago. "We've stepped up bio-security measures exponentially. The amount of traffic , the amount of people that are even allowed to come to the farm is very limited." said Breeding Hog Producer Freddie Grohmann.

Grohmann is among midwest hog producers who cannot ship live piglets to China right now even though they are healthy. One Missouri exporter says he has contracts to ship 4,000 piglets to China.

"China has made a ruling they are going to hold off on letting live animals come into China until the two governments can decide a testing protocol. " said Freddie Grohmann.

Scientists are working to develop a vaccine to protect newborn pigs from the PED virus. But no one knows how long that will take.

The virus is not a threat to humans or food safety.

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