Researchers at Kansas State University say African swine fever can survive in feed grains, prompting greater concerns of the disease spreading. The research confirms the virus can survive a simulated 30-day transoceanic voyage in contaminated plant-based feed and ingredients. Detailed analysis shows the half-life of African swine fever in feed ranges from 9.6 to 14.2 days after exposure to varying temperature and humidity conditions simulating transoceanic shipment. This means it would take approximately two weeks for the total viable virus concentration to decay by half its original count during shipment. Over the last year, African swine fever has emerged on new continents and spread to historically negative countries.
Surviving shipments overseas provides an opportunity for the virus to infect swine in the United States and other countries through imported feed. African swine fever is now considered endemic in China, where pork production is forecasted to fall 25 percent by the end of the year. The disease has also spread to several other Asian countries and recently to Western Europe.