The bodies are piling up fast.
A deadly virus, porcine epidemic diarrhea, or PEDv, is estimated to have killed, on average, more than 100,000 piglets and young hogs each week since it first showed up in Iowa in May 2013, wreaking havoc on the pork industry.
The number of hogs slaughtered this year is down 4.2 percent, according to the United States Agriculture Department, to roughly 50 million from more than 52 million in the same period in 2013.
That drop drove up the price of bacon and center-cut pork chops sold in the United States by more than 12 percent in May, compared with the same period a year ago, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Prices for bacon rose more than 15 percent, and pork chops were up almost 13 percent.
"I've been a vet since 1981, and there is no precedent for this," said Paul Sundberg, vice president for science and technology at the National Pork Board. "It is devastatingly virulent."
A swine virus appeared in the United States last spring in Ohio and in weeks had spread to four more states. How it entered the country is unknown.Hog Farms Battling to Contain Deadly VirusAUG. 4, 2013