A new swine virus that is sweeping across the nation could mean consumers will pay more for ribs, chops, hams and other pork products this summer.

Some experts forecast price increases as much as 15 percent, but Dr. Tim Page with the LSU AG Center says that may be a conservative estimate.

"My estimates are we are looking at thirty to forty, maybe even fifty percent increases over the summer and maybe into the fall as well," Page says.

The PEDv virus is highly contagious and fatal to swine. The disease is new here in the US, but it has affected Europe for a number of years. Fortunately, however, Page says the virus poses no threat to humans or other animals.

"The most important thing is, it is safe to eat the meat," Page says. "It does not effect the meat at all. So there is no risk at all to human health except that we will be paying more for our pork product."

The PEDv virus tends to live longer in colder months, so as we move through the summer months, warmer temperatures could help to reduce the spread of the disease. But Page says while this is good news, consumers should expect higher prices for some time to come.

"It's probably going to take our swine herds a year to two years to work their way through this before we get cleaned up and get through with this problem," Page says. "So we are looking at increases in pork prices for the next year or two at least."