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African Swine Fever

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African swine fever research
Microbiologist Zhiqiang Lu uses a DNA sequencer to examine genetically engineered African swine fever viruses - Photo by Keith Weller; USDA, Agricultural Research Service
Scientific Name: 

African swine fever virus (Alonso et al. 2018)

Common Name: 

African swine fever, African swine fever virus (ASF, ASFV)

Native To: 

First identified in Kenya in 1921 (Sánchez‐Vizcaíno et al. 2012)

Date of U.S. Introduction: 

Pathogen has not been detected in the U.S. (Brown and Bevin 2018)

Means of Introduction: 

Most likely pathway into the U.S. is the illegal importation of swine products or byproducts (APHIS)

Impact: 

Highly contagious and fatal viral disease affecting domestic and wild pigs; one of the most economically devastating diseases of swine (APHIS; Sánchez‐Vizcaíno et al. 2012)

Spotlights

USDA. Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service.

As part of its continuing efforts to respond to the detection of African Swine Fever (ASF) in the Dominican Republic (DR) and prevent its introduction into the Conterminous United States, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) is preparing to establish a Foreign Animal Disease protection zone in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. ASF has not been detected in Puerto Rico or the U.S. Virgin Islands, and USDA is committed to keeping it out of both islands and the rest of the United States. Out of an abundance of caution, APHIS is taking this additional action to further safeguard the U.S. swine herd and protect the interests and livelihoods of U.S. pork producers.

USDA. Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service.

The United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) is hosting African Swine Fever (ASF) Action Week from September 13-17 – encouraging U.S. swine producers to join multiple webinars to learn about ASF and what they can do to help protect the U.S. swine herd. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack also recorded a video echoing the importance of keeping this devastating disease out of the United States.

United States Department of Agriculture.

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today applauded research and protection efforts underway at the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Agricultural Research Service (ARS) and Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) to prevent the spread of African Swine Fever virus, which has been causing devastating losses to the swine industry across the globe. "USDA agencies are working together to protect U.S. livestock from foreign and emerging animal diseases that could harm our economy and public health," said Secretary Vilsack. "I am proud of the extraordinary research underway at the Agricultural Research Service to develop vaccine candidates to prevent African Swine Fever virus. In addition, the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service has done tremendous work to establish protection zones to safeguard the entire U.S. swine industry."

African Swine Fever (ASF) was originally detected in 2007 in the Republic of Georgia and is known to cause virulent, deadly disease outbreaks in wild and domesticated swine. Since the original outbreak, ASF has had a widespread and lethal impact on swine herds in various countries in Eastern and Central Europe and throughout Asia. Although the virus is causing profound economic losses to the swine industry, there have not been any U.S. outbreaks.

USDA. ARS. Tellus.

Next-generation laboratory gives USDA scientists the ability to expand research established at Plum Island. Scientists have been helping other countries in a united front against foreign animal diseases. These efforts also help the U.S. prepare for and prevent a potential introduction of a high-consequence livestock disease. African swine fever virus, or ASFV, is among the most concerning animal disease pathogens currently circulating the globe. While the pathogen doesn’t affect humans and has not been seen in U.S. swine, it is economically affecting the pork industry.

USDA. Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Foreign Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory has confirmed African swine fever (ASF) in samples collected from pigs in the Dominican Republic through an existing cooperative surveillance program. USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) has numerous interlocking safeguards in place to prevent ASF from entering the United States.  Pork and pork products from the Dominican Republic are currently prohibited entry as a result of existing classical swine fever restrictions.

The USDA continues to work diligently with partners including the Department of Homeland Security’s Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and the U.S. swine industry to prevent ASF from entering the United States. ASF is not a threat to human health, cannot be transmitted from pigs to humans and it is not a food safety issue. 

USDA. Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service.

Feral swine can carry foreign animal diseases like African Swine Fever. While ASF has never been found in domestic or feral swine in the United States, there is no treatment or vaccine for it. That’s why surveillance is very important. Help protect U.S. pigs by immediately reporting sick or dead feral swine.

WHAT TO DO: If you find a sick or dead feral swine with no obvious injury or cause of death, report it right away. Call the USDA-APHIS Wildlife Services program in your State at 1-866-4-USDA-WS. Don’t wait! Quick detection is essential to preventing the spread of ASF.

United States Department of Agriculture.

Today, since prevention is our best protection against African swine fever, U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue is sharing information about the importance of keeping ASF out of the United States. It is vital for everyone to know about ASF and how to prevent it, while keeping the U.S. pig population healthy. To help people learn more about this disease, as well as the steps that can be taken to help protect U.S. pigs, the USDA's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service has updated its web content with additional information and links to partners’ resources.

Additionally, USDA is releasing four infographics on the following topics:

Federally Regulated

Images

Iowa State University. Center for Food Security and Public Health.

Videos

Google. YouTube; United States Department of Agriculture.
Google. YouTube; United States Department of Agriculture.

Selected Resources

The section below contains highly relevant resources for this species, organized by source. Or, to display all related content view all resources for African Swine Fever.

Partnership

World Organisation for Animal Health.

UNFAO. Animal Production and Health Division.

Federal Government

Library of Congress. Congressional Research Service.

Congressional Research Service Report IF11215.

USDA. Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service.
DHS. Customs and Border Protection.
International Government
United Kingdom Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs.
European Food Safety Authority.

New Zealand Ministry for Primary Industries.

Australian Government. Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment.

Canadian Food Inspection Agency.

State and Local Government

Minnesota Board of Animal Health.

See also: Swine - African Swine Fever for more information

Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade, and Consumer Protection.
North Dakota Department of Agriculture.
Delaware Department of Agriculture.

California Department of Food and Agriculture.

Academic

University of Minnesota. Center for Animal Health and Food Safety.

Pennsylvania State University. Cooperative Extension.

Iowa State University. Center for Food Security and Public Health.

University of Florida. Emerging Pathogens Institute.

University of Minnesota. College of Veterinary Medicine.
Professional

National Pork Producers Council.

American Veterinary Medicine Association.

Canadian Pork Council.

Citations