SUFFOLK -- A deadly swine virus has been circulating on pig farms across the nation since May, 2013.

The porcine epidemic diarrhea virus or PRDv has shown up on 5,000 farms and killed as many as 7 million pigs in the U.S. in one year.

There has been one case in central Virginia and more in North Carolina. It first showed up last May in Indiana and has devastated some pig farms in the Midwest. No cases have been found in Hampton Roads but farmers are being extremely cautious.

'When it hits, it only takes four days to turn fatal to younger pigs. It's a dehydration illness. But it can be deadly to 80 to 100 percent of an entire stock on a farm,' added Estienne.

Mark Estienne, a swine expert at the Virginia Tech - Tidewater Agricultural Research and Extension Center in Suffolk, says people do not need to be concerned about the safety of consuming pork products.

'This virus cannot be transmitted from pigs to people or from people to pigs,' said Estienne.

Estienne noted that the virus will affect pork prices, due to supply and demand.

Prices for ribs, chops, hams and other pork products in the grocery store are expected to climb as much as 15 percent this summer as supplies are slashed by a the virus.

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