There have been over 100 reported African Swine Fever outbreaks spanning 28 provinces in China since August of last year, though many believe that number is drastically underreported. The disease has now spread to Mongolia and Vietnam as well.
Dr. Kelli Werling with the Indiana State Board of Animal Health says that the key to preventing ASF from spreading to the US begins on your farm.
“In addition to ASF having to get here, for example on a pork product or something like that, it also has to come into contact with the right host. So, it’s possible that it may have already traveled here and not reached a swine host to be able to cause an infection in our in our U. S. herd.”
Werling says that while every farm has some sort of biosecurity plan in place, there are always improvements that can be made. She recommends the Secure Pork Supply Plan that can be found at securepork.org. Part of that plan requires solid record keeping, including logs of, “feed delivery, all the inputs and outputs on that farm as well, and being able to have records that are maintained so that we know what’s been on farm, what’s been off farm, as well as people. So, visitor logs, employee logs, those kinds of things are good record tools to be able to help us in the event of a disease outbreak.”
Another part of the plan is just clinically observing your hogs for sickness and infection.
“Looking for specific signs of ASF and then if you see those, reporting it to our office at the Board of Animal Health as well as to your herd veterinarian so that we can collaborate and coordinate either an investigation into what those signs might be to be able to rule out African Swine Fever or any foreign animal disease that could be occurring.”
Some signs include fever, skin discoloration, piling, tiredness, and ultimately death. It is very important to note that while this disease has a near 100% mortality rate in hogs, it is not a threat to humans that handle swine or that consume pork products.