ASF continues to spread

Disease is particularly active in Vietnam in early October

Compiled by staff

October 23, 2019

2 Min Read
National Pork Board

A new study from the University of Minnesota College of Veterinary Medicine finds the risk of African Swine Fever arriving in the United States has doubled since 2018. The most likely airports of entry are Newark-New Jersey, George Bush-Houston-Texas, Los Angeles-California, John F. Kennedy-New York and San Jose-California.

African swine fever is a highly contagious disease that spreads among swine. It was first detected in China in August 2018, but has existed in Africa for decades. It is spread by live or dead pigs, through pork products and transmission can occur via contaminated feed or non-living objects, according to the World Organization for Animal Health. There is no approved vaccine. The disease is currently active in Russia, North Korea, South Korea, China, Ukraine, Poland, Slovakia, Bulgaria, Hungary, Latvia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Moldova, Burma, Laos, Vietnam, Philippines, Zimbabwe, South Africa, Kenya, Nigeria and Ivory Coast.

According to the most recent report from the World Organization for Animal Health, 507 new outbreaks with reported, with 9,461 ongoing outbreaks. There were 6,083 outbreaks in Vietnam alone. Timor Leste reported its first case in farmed swine.

Popular Science reported in May 2019 that African Swine Fever had killed a million hogs in China. Signs of the disease in hogs include: high fever, decreased appetite, diarrhea and vomiting, coughing and red, blotchy skin, according to the U.S. Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service. The disease does not spread from swine to humans.

The Popular Science article reports that if African Swine Fever was introduced into the United States, it would cost $10 billion in damages in the first year.

In order to try to prepare and arm themselves with information, the Foundation for Food and Agriculture and the National Pork Board awarded $535,780 to research teams at Kansas State University and Iowa State University to study how the virus survives and how to test hogs for the virus.

In Iowa, they’re conducting crisis preparedness events in the case African Swine Fever is detected in the United States. Iowa Public Radio reports the four-day simulation exercise took place at the Iowa National Guard headquarters.

“If we’re a leader in production, we ought to be a leader in how we respond,” said Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig, on the second day of the simulation.

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