Here's What US Swine Producers Need to Know About African Swine Fever

by Caitlyn Andrews September 28, 2018

African Swine Fever in the US

Hog producers around the globe are on high alert following the recent outbreaks of African Swine Fever (ASF) in China. Here in the United States, you need to know how this disease affects you and your pigs.

Take action now to educate yourself on African Swine Fever. Here is everything you need to know about ASF.

What is African Swine Fever?

African Swine Fever, or ASF, is currently making headlines, but it's not a new disease. Outbreaks have been reported since the 1960s.

ASF is a highly contagious viral disease that affects swine. Currently, outbreaks are occurring in China. The virus is most common in Africa but has been known to occur in Europe, South America, the Caribbean, and the Caucasus.

There has never been a reported case of this disease in the United States.

In today's global economy, it's not uncommon for feed and other supplies to be sourced from other countries. Because of this, producers should take steps to prevent their pigs from getting ASF.

What are the symptoms of ASF?

Unfortunately, the first indicator of infection is often death for newly exposed herds. Some pigs will show symptoms for 7 to 10 days before passing away.

Symptoms discovered before death include:

  • High fever
  • Listlessness
  • Weakness
  • Increased pulse rate
  • Lack of appetite
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Coughing
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Abortions in pregnant sows

Pigs that survive the disease will carry the virus for months or their lifetime.

How is African Swine Fever transmitted?

ASF is a highly contagious disease of pigs, both wild and domestic. It has the potential to spread rapidly in swine populations.

Multiple factors can contribute to the spread of ASF. Here are some of the main ways it can be transmitted:

  • Tick vectors
  • Direct contact with other pigs
  • Contaminated river water or feedstuff
  • People moving between high-risk areas
  • Feed trucks or vehicles moving from infected areas

Is there a cure for ASF?

There is no treatment for African Swine Fever.

There is no preventative vaccine.

This disease is lethal. It can have severe economic impacts and must be taken seriously.

Can African Swine Fever infect people?

No. There is no evidence that ASF can make humans sick.

How can swine producers in the US prevent African Swine Fever?

Fortunately, ASF has not made its way to the United States. There has never been an outbreak here.

The most important step producers can take to keep their swine safe from this devastating disease is to take biosecurity measures.

Here are some of the ways you can keep your facility biosecure:

  • Disinfect vehicles moving in and out of the farm.
  • Purchase pigs from safe sources and quarantine them from your herd for at least one month.
  • Use barriers to prevent wild pigs or intruders from coming into contact with your swine.
  • Control everything that goes into your barns.
  • Minimize the number of visitors on the property.
  • Implement a strong insecticide and rodenticide program.
  • Keep your facility clean at all times.
  • Source your feed from reputable sources.

Taking biosecurity measures can prevent your pigs from contracting many diseases, including ASF.

If you suspect your swine are infected with African Swine Fever then contact your vet immediately!

Want to learn more about ASF?

If you want to continue reading about ASF and how it impacts the swine industry then see the sources below:

The Center for Food Security and Public Health: African Swine Fever

United States Department of Agriculture: African Swine Fever

Now is the time for swine producers in the United States to take safety precautions. Prevention can be the best cure when it comes to serious diseases that threaten your herd!

Caitlyn Andrews
Caitlyn Andrews


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