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RALEIGH, N.C. -- A viral outbreak that's affected nearly a third of North Carolina's 3,000 major hog farms has led two environmental groups to seek a state of emergency declaration.

The News & Observer of Raleigh reported that the Waterkeeper Alliance and the North Carolina Riverkeepers have sent a letter and a public records request to state Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler.

They're asking him to seek the declaration from Gov. Pat McCrory and also to release more information on the outbreak of porcine epidemic diarrhea.

The virus kills nearly every piglet born on infected farms for several weeks until the herd develops immunity.

A spokesman for the N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services said in an email Thursday that the department would respond to the environmentalists' letter as quickly as possible.

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