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Could swine fever be dwelling in your holiday souvenirs?

11 December 2018, at 12:00am

Be sensible with your holiday souvenirs. If you are visiting an ASF-infected region this Christmas, be mindful of any food items that you plan to bring back.

With Christmas quickly approaching, your vacation destination could be a known African swine fever (ASF) source country. It is important, therefore, to be mindful of what is brought back to your home region to prevent the spread of ASF.

It would seem logical enough that clothing, especially shoes, could potentially transmit a virus, however, a less-obvious method is transmission via holiday souvenirs.

Souvenirs often make their way into luggage during trips, but if the souvenir is a high-risk product - such as food - one might become an unwitting vector for bringing ASF and other foreign diseases into uninfected regions and countries.

In October, a contaminated package of pork sausages was intercepted by airport security in Hokkaido, Japan, in the luggage of a traveller who departed from Beijing, China, close to where ASF is now prevalent.

In today’s highly globalised world, it is not so difficult to imagine the ease with which ASF could spread to uninfected herds. For this reason, it is recommended that all pork production premises implement policies for downtime and decontamination.

Alberta Pork's advice is to enjoy your trip, but be cautious when it comes to bringing items home.

"ASF is not a gift anyone wants to receive this time of year - nor any time of the year, for that matter!"

As reported by Alberta Pork