Biosecurity key amid heightened ASF risk

8 January 2019, at 12:00am

CANADA - As the risk of exposing the North American swine herd to a foreign animal disease increases, heightened biosecurity is critical, said Executive Director of the Swine Health Information Centre

Words Bruce Cochrane

The spread of African Swine Fever in China and other parts of the world has put North America on high alert.

Dr Paul Sundberg, the Executive Director of the Swine Health Information Centre says pork producers and veterinarians have to really pay attention to the details of biosecurity and make sure we get a good diagnosis any time we have a health event to prevent infection.

Clip-Dr Paul Sundberg-Swine Health Information Centre: "The level of risk has increased, it's certainly increasing and continues. We are [at] risk for importation of a variety of different viruses, not just from China but from around the world.

"There's Foot and Mouth Disease, there's Classical Swine Fever, there's Pseudorabies, all of those are endemic in China for example and we'll just use China as that example.

"However they remain endemic and they remain somewhat simmering within China. They're always there and there's always a risk.

"But with the outbreak of ASF in China, it has seeded down the environment with that virus soI think we're under increased pressure of importing that virus versus the others because it is so active over there now.

"It has gotten in the environment, the pigs, the people, everything that moves and we've got a lot of air traffic coming from Asia, southeast Asia, those types of things that I think our pressure under that virus has certainly increased and that's a different level of risk than what we usually incur with Foot and Mouth Disease, with Classical Swine, with Pseudorabies."

Dr Sundberg said that with the help of USDA and the Department of Homeland Security in the US and the equivalents in Canada everyone is working to prevent the introduction of these diseases through products that can come into North America.

Editor at The Poultry Site

Ryan worked in conservation from 2008 to 2017, during which time he operated a rainbow trout hatchery and helped to maintain public and protected green spaces in Canada for the Toronto and Region Conservation Authority. As editor of The Poultry Site, he now writes about challenges and opportunities in agriculture across the globe.

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