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African Swine Fever Overview

November 9, 2019

Hello. my name is Chris Rademacher. I am the Clinical Associate Professor and the Iowa State University Swine Extension Veterinarian. Today we are going to talk to you about African Swine Fever, and give you an overview. African Swine Fever virus is a highly resistant virus that infects both domestic and wild pigs. It is spread directly through nose-to-nose contact and indirectly through infected products such as fomites, insects, particularly soft ticks and flies, and uncooked pork products. It is a large, complex virus, which makes it very hardy and extremely stable in the environment. It can remain viable for long periods of time in blood, feces, and the tissues of infected animals ASF causes high morbidity and high mortality in pigs that it infects, and ASF cannot be spread to humans, so it is not a human health concern. There are currently no no vaccine or treatment options for African Swine Fever, and African Swine Fever is also a trade restricting disease. In other words, if we were to become infected here in the United States, we would lose our export markets for a period of time. Where is African Swine Fever today?
Currently, it is rapidly spreading in China since the initial cases were reported in early August of 2018 primarily in the north and eastern provinces within that country. The most concerning part about that is that we import several feed ingredients from several of those provinces in those infected areas. It is also currently moving through Europe since its initial
introduction in the Eastern European countries in 2007, and seems to be following a migration pattern of wild boars from east to west. Most recently, it has been discovered in the country of Belgium. What should you expect to see if you had a herd that was infected with African Swine Fever? Unfortunately, in the early stages, ASF is going to probably look like sick pigs that we would normally see with diseases such as Salmonella, PRRS, Erysipelas, Porcine Circovirus type 2, et cetera. One thing that you would see see is a very high fever, so we need to make sure that our caretakers are taking thermometers with them in the barns so that they can take a proper temperature on any animal that appears to be sick. We’ll see hemorrhages, and how that’s going to present clinically is you’re going to see pigs that have purple ears, purple on their noses, maybe on their hindquarters, on live pigs, , as you see in the picture off to the right. Other things you might see is you may see bloody diarrhea or kind of a darkish, tarry stool. You may see anorexia; pigs that just don’t want to eat. Pigs that are also recumbent; pigs that are laying down, piling, not wanting really to get up. In breeding herds, some of the first first signs you may see may actually be abortions. The most important thing to remember with any of these things is, if you observe pigs showing these signs, be sure to contact your veterinarian. Biosecurity, particularly dealing with international travelers, is going to be very important to make sure that we don’t accidentally bring this virus back into the United States. So some simple things that producers can do is, if they don’t already have one, be sure to create and enact an international traveler SOP. For international visitors, some of the things that may be in that SOP, for example would be: visitors need to have five days downtime once they arrive on United States soil, ensure that there’s no imported meat coming into the country from any of those countries that are infected with African Swine Fever. An additional step may be providing
visitors with clothes and shoes at an off-site location before they come to the facilities. You may also have employees that are visiting countries that are affected with African Swine Fever, or other foreign animal diseases. You want to make sure that you do education with those employees to make sure that they’re not visiting farms or livestock areas. Wearing different footwear than to the farm would be important. No bringing any meat purchased from overseas to the farm. Once again, observing five nights down time once on US soil. Because we do import ingredients from countries that have African Swine Fever, we need to be very diligent about our feed ingredient biosecurity. Scott Dee and a group of researchers were able to
demonstrate that different feed ingredients that are imported from China
and Europe could potentially carry infective African Swine Fever virus. The USDA today does not currently have a feed testing protocol validated. Therefore no testing of feed ingredients will be allowed here in the United States as of today. Producers need to be discussing supply chain biosecurity with their feed suppliers, asking them where they get their ingredients from, and then ensuring that they go back to their ingredient suppliers and make sure that they’re taking the proper biosecurity
steps to ensure that we aren’t contaminating any of these ingredients with African Swine Fever, or any other foreign animal disease, before it is exported to the United States. If you want more information, you see at the bottom there at, will have more
of this information regarding feed ingredient biosecurity.
So what can producers be doing in preparation for African Swine Fever, or really for any foreign animal disease? The National Pork Board on their
website has a FAD, or a foreign animal disease preparation checklist that goes through things such as making sure that you have a current premise identification, making sure that all your production and animal movement records
are up to date, and your biosecurity training as well. The link is provided there for you in the text. For more information on African Swine Fever, the Iowa Pork Industry Center, on their website has a page that’s devoted to African Swine Fever at, and then click on the African Swine
Fever page.

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