ShapeShapeauthorShapechevroncrossShapeShapeShapeGrouphamburgerhomeGroupmagnifyShapeShapeShaperssShape

US to begin testing sick and dead pigs for African swine fever

The USDA has announced that it will commence with testing of sick and dead pigs for African swine fever.

22 May 2019, at 11:00am

The US Department of Agriculture within weeks will begin testing sick and dead pigs for a hog virus that has killed herds across Asia in an effort to minimise devastation if the disease enters the United States, the agency announced.

Increased testing aims to help US officials detect cases of African swine fever quickly so they can contain the disease, reports Reuters.

African swine fever kills almost all pigs infected, though it is not harmful to people. There is no vaccine or cure.

The disease has spread rapidly across China, the world's top pork producer, and in neighbouring Vietnam the government said it will mobilise its military and police forces to combat an outbreak.

Cases in the United States would halt shipments in the $6.5 billion export market for American pork at a time when the industry is already facing retaliatory tariffs imposed by China and Mexico.

"An enhanced surveillance programme will serve as an early warning system, helping us find any potential disease much more quickly," said Greg Ibach, the USDA's undersecretary for marketing and regulatory programmes.

The USDA will start testing pigs for African swine fever when it conduct routine tests for another hog disease, classical swine fever. Sick or dead pigs at slaughterhouses and those that are sent to veterinary diagnostic labs will included in the expanded testing, according to the agency.

Testing for African swine fever is important because its symptoms can resemble those for diseases already in the United States, such as porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome, said Tom Burkgren, executive director for the American Association of Swine Veterinarians.

"That's a significant step for them to take that will certainly help discover that first case of ASF, if it happens, early on," Burkgren said.

The USDA said it also will work with state and federal officials to identify incidents involving sick or dead feral swine to determine if they should be tested for African swine fever.

The US government previously increased screenings for illegal pork products at airports and cracked down on smuggling in an effort to keep out African swine fever.

Last week, the chief executive of Tyson Foods Inc said it was "very plausible" the disease could enter the United States because of its rapid spread across Asia.

Sponsored content
BIOCHECK.UGent, prevention is better than cure!

Biocheck.UGent is a risk-based scoring system to evaluate the quality of your on-farm biosecurity in an scientific and independent way.

Fill in the online questionnaire for free and receive valuable feedback about the biosecurity level of your farm. You get a summarizing and personal report with detailed results. These findings can help you to choose your own suitable biosecurity pathway.

Don’t hesitate and get started to lift your farm to a higher biosecurity level!

Start the Biocheck.UGent!