African Swine Fever Facts You Need to Know

April 15, 2019 03:40 PM
 
Four veterinarians offer tips to safeguard U.S. hog farms from African swine fever. 

An invisible enemy. A hog apocalypse. A tragedy of the commons. However you want to define African swine fever, it’s led to the new world we live in today. 

Since African swine fever (ASF) was confirmed in China on Aug. 3, 2018, the disease has spread to several other countries around the world and has sent shockwaves through the pork industry.

“The world North American swine producers live in changed last August when African swine fever was confirmed in the world’s largest swine herd. Although the risk of introduction to North America is low, we must use extreme caution to protect ourselves for the benefit of the animals in our care and the economic wellbeing of all our farms,” says Gordon Spronk, DVM, member of the National Pork Producer Council’s board of directors.

The fear of ASF reaching U.S. soils grows each day as we hear more reports of this devastating disease destroying the global hog herd. 

ASF is not a new disease. In fact, scientists and researchers have studied it for decades. Unfortunately, stopping the spread of the disease is very difficult with no available vaccine.

The quest for an ASF vaccine has been going on for more than 50 years. It’s no easy feat, because ASF is the largest virus known to man, says Liz Wagstrom, DVM, NPPC’s chief veterinarian. Because of its size, it’s difficult to discover which, if any, of those proteins has the antibody that would protect against clinical disease.

According to Wagstrom, a vaccine for ASF is still several years away from being available to pork producers. Some U.S. sources say 10 years, while a European report says the vaccine is still 20 years out. 

Biosecurity and education: your best prevention

Andrea Pitkin, DVM, PIC North America’s health assurance veterinarian, says the biggest threat to ASF transmission is people. “Biosecurity is our main tool to prevent this disease,” Pitkin says.

Paul Sundberg, DVM, executive director of the Swine Health Information Center, agrees. 

“I don’t see ASF pressures abating at all,” he says. “The global marketplace only heightens that pressure for us any time we have a virus moving around quickly to other parts of the world. My key message for producers is to think globally and act locally. You can watch what’s happening globally, but the best way to prevent introduction of disease here in the U.S. is to act locally. Make biosecurity a priority on your farm every day. That’s the most important thing we can do.” 

Are you prepared? Farm Journal’s PORK is here to help. Check out more advice and tools from the world’s leading experts on ASF at porkbusiness.com/ASF
 

 

 

ASF


Related Articles:

Sánchez-Vizcaíno Tells How Spain Stopped African Swine Fever

7 Perspectives on African Swine Fever

Keep ASF Vaccine News in Perspective

Don’t Be Burned by African Swine Fever

African Swine Fever's Tragedy of the Commons

 

Back to news


Comments

 
Spell Check

No comments have been posted to this News Article

Corn College TV Education Series

2014_Team_Shot_with_Logo

Get nearly 8 hours of educational video with Farm Journal's top agronomists. Produced in the field and neatly organized by topic, from spring prep to post-harvest. Order now!

Markets

Market Data provided by QTInfo.com
Brought to you by Beyer
Close