African Swine Fever (ASF) is currently the biggest challenge for the pig sector globally and the biggest current problem in animal health. It is an infectious disease caused by the ASF virus that affects swine, both domestic and wild boar.
Due to its important economic and animal health implications, it is on the list of notifiable diseases of the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE).
Its current situation is of great concern worldwide due to its extensive expansion in recent years, currently affecting four continents where more than 78% of the global swine population lives.
ASF was first described in Kenya in 1921 by Montgomery. It was described as a high lethality disease (99%) in recently imported European pigs. In the following decades, its presence was observed in several countries in sub-Saharan Africa.
Some of the factors that are facilitating the spread of the virus in this continent are i) the lack of experience in the detection, management, and control of ASF; ii) the characteristics of its pig sector, since there is a high number of backyard farms; and iii) the performance of traditional risk practices, such as swill feeding or even the use of blood or blood derivatives as a food supplement.
Except for South Korea, where numerous cases have been reported in wild boar, most of the cases notified in Asian countries have been reported in domestic pigs.
Stop African Swine Fever
African Swine Fever is a deadly pig disease that spreads rapidly and affects domestic and wild swine. While not a threat to human health, the virus could devastate America’s swine, pork industry, and food supply.
Whatever pigs mean to you—your livelihood or a pet—we’re all in it together. Protect our swine and keep the disease out of the United States.
Stay Safe: Step Up Your Biosecurity
The disease control measures you take are critical to prevent African swine fever from developing or spreading among your herd. Review or enhance your biosecurity efforts to protect your pigs and livelihood. For small farm and pet pig owners select our biosecurity guide that best suits your role for the latest prevention and control tips:
How Transmission Can Occur
Although people cannot get African swine fever, they can carry it on clothing, shoes, and equipment. Sources of the infection include garbage feeding, contaminated personnel, equipment and vehicles, contaminated feed, or water, infected domestic or wild pigs, soft ticks, stable flies and semen. The most common sources of transmission include:
Direct Contact – Direct contact occurs when healthy pigs have contact with infected domestic or wild swine or come in contact with infected saliva, urine, feces, or aerosolized respiratory secretions via coughing or sneezing.
Indirect Transmission – Indirect transmission happens when healthy pigs eat virus-contaminated feed, pork products, or come into contact with the virus on clothing, shoes, equipment, vehicles, or food waste.
Insect-borne Transmission – This occurs when a soft tick acts as a vector, feeding on infected pigs and spreading the virus to healthy swine. Other insects like stable flies, leeches, and swine lice may also spread it.
Six Key Prevention Steps –
Step 1: Limit on-farm traffic.
This includes neighbors and visitors. Understand who is coming onto your property, including people, vehicles, and equipment.
Step 2: Require visitors wash hands, wear clean clothes and shoes on your property.
As the virus can stay on clothing and other materials, this step limits disease spread for anyone coming onto your farm. Don’t let anyone who has been in an African swine fever-affected country onto your property for at least five days after returning to the United States.
Step 3: Clean and disinfect all equipment and vehicles entering or leaving your site.
The virus can stay on vehicles and equipment. Check with your veterinarian about specific cleaning and disinfection suggestions.
Step 4: Prevent contact between your pigs and wild pigs.
Feral swine are a big risk of carrying African swine fever and other diseases. Secure your pigs’ pen from such contact. If wild hogs mix with backyard or pet pigs, it could be deadly.
Step 5: Store feed where wildlife cannot access it or contaminate it.
Make sure your pigs don’t eat from the trash and do not garbage-feed them as that is a source of spread for African swine fever.
Step 6: Prohibit anyone eating in animal areas.
The African swine fever virus survives for extended periods in pork and pork meat products and can be a source of spread. Keep all outside food products to a specific area of the facility away from animals.
Stay Vigilant: Know the Signs
Questions – NJ Department of Agriculture Animal Health
3 Schwarzkoof Drive
Ewing, NJ 08628
Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service – U.S. Department of Agriculture
Sandidad Animal Info – VISAVET Research Centre, India