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USDA orders new steps in dealing with farm pig disease

MADISON, WI (WTAQ) - The federal government is about to get a better handle on a disease that has killed millions of farm pigs in the last year.

Wisconsin is one of over two dozen states where Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea, or PED, has shown up.

Friday morning, the USDA said it would require farmers to report pig infections -- and labs must send tissue and fecal samples to the USDA when they report positive test results.  

Also, farmers affected by PED outbreaks will have to take part in a program to help keep the virus from spreading.  

Until Friday, the federal government has been using voluntary lab reports to try and keep track of the virus, which began showing up in the U.S. last year.

Officials say PED is believed to have originated in China. It causes severe diarrhea in newborn piglets, and many of them die from dehydration.

(Story courtesy of Wheeler News Service)