01/23/2014 05:10 EST | Updated 03/25/2014 05:59 EDT

Deadly pig virus case confirmed in Ontario

The first case of porcine epidemic diarrhea, a virus that’s killed over a million piglets in the U.S., has been confirmed in Middlesex County by the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture and Food.

While PED is highly contagious among pigs, it poses no food safety threat or a danger to humans.

Ontario pork farmers have been bracing themselves for the spread since last spring, when PED began ravaging pig populations south of the border, driving up pork prices by 25 per cent.

The state with the largest outbreak of the virus is Iowa, which is also one of the top five states Ontario pork farmers export to.

Contamination occurs when feces infected with the virus get on the trucks and boots of drivers returning to Ontario farms. 

Vaccines developed to combat the virus in Europe and China have so far been ineffective.

While larger pigs can become immune to PED, the virus kills 100 per cent of the piglets it infects.