Source: National Pork Board
Even though African swine fever (ASF) is not now, nor ever has been in the U.S., the expanded global threat demands razor sharp attention, says the Pork Checkoff’s Lisa Becton, DVM, director of swine health information and research.
“On the plus side, steps that we currently employ to prevent other diseases will be important to protect against ASF,” Becton says.
Of course, there are some additional steps that producers are starting to put in place. For example, no international visitors — it’s best not to allow any international visitors onsite, says Derald Holtkamp, DVM, Iowa State University. As for U.S. personnel who have visited ASF-affected countries, five to seven days of downtime is a must.
“It’s the showers during that time that are important, because we know the ASF virus survives a long time,” he says. “Also, no shoes or clothing from ASF-affected countries, even items not worn on pig farms, can come onto a U.S. farm.”
Add a question to the visitors’ log specific to travel in ASF-affected countries for anyone entering a U.S. farm.
• No pork foodstuffs on the farm – “ASF is different disease-wise; it survives in processed and dried pork for a long time,” Holtkamp notes. “Seriously consider catering lunches as an employee benefit and as a biosecurity measure. It gives you control.”
• Increased insect control – Although soft ticks (Ornithodoros) associated with ASF transmission are not a concern domestically, biting flies and ticks can serve as a mechanical vector. “We need to up our game on insect, pest and rodent control,” Holtkamp says.
• Increased farm security – Consider perimeter fencing and security cameras to monitor activity. At the very least have gates, that someone can’t simply drive around and doors with key-pad access, Holtkamp says.
Becton also advises building your farm FAD awareness:
• Know the clinical signs of ASF and other foreign animal diseases (FADs) and how to determine if something is not right. (Available at pork.org/FAD.)
• Pre-identify a herd veterinarian to contact and assist if you suspect clinical signs of an FAD.
• Post important contact information by the farm phone, including names of herd, state and USDA veterinarians, in case of an animal health event.
“Have a current premises ID number for the site where the pigs are located — not at a main office or house,” Becton emphasizes. “Use that PIN now for all animal movements and lab submissions and sign up for the Secure Pork Supply plan at securepork.org.”
For more on the spread of ASF, visit porkbusiness.com/ASF.
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