It has been difficult to measure just how widespread porcine epidemic diarrhea (PED) virus is in the United States, because pig producers and veterinarians have not been required to report PED virus cases to government agencies. However, the USDA is now considering rules that would require outbreaks of the deadly virus to be reported.

In doing so, the USDA believes mandatory reporting will help improve the tracking of PED virus, which has been detected in 30 of 50 states since it was first discovered in the U.S. in the spring of 2013.

The USDA has discussed the idea of mandatory reporting of PED virus with the American Association of Swine Veterinarians (AASV), Tom Burkgren, executive director of the association, told Reuters. A USDA spokesperson confirmed with the news organization that the USDA is “currently evaluating additional options for addressing this virus.”

PED virus, which can have up to a 100 percent mortality rate in piglets, has had a harsh impact on swine numbers in the U.S., and subsequently has sent pork prices soaring.

Burkgren said further discussions with the USDA about mandatory PED virus reporting are forthcoming. However, he feels that because the virus has become so widespread, it may be too late for mandatory reporting to have substantial benefits to the U.S. pig industry.

"You've got a very widely distributed disease," said Burkgren. "At this point in the outbreak, I think we'd have to see some really good reasons to start reporting it."

Mandatory reporting is already in place in the U.S. for viruses like African swine fever and foot-and-mouth disease.