Ag News

African Swine Fever: A Tale Of Two Outbreaks

(IARN) — Animal health officials believe African Swine Fever first originated in wild warthogs in sub-Saharan Africa. The virus continues it spread years later, infecting domestic swine.

Today we examine the latest outbreak, which can be summarized as “A Tale of Two Outbreaks.”

Dr. Liz Wagstrom serves as chief veterinarian for the National Pork Producers Council (NPPC). She updated our staff on the most recent outbreak, which affects both domestic and wild hogs.

“We are seeing two different outbreaks,” Wagstrom said. “The first has been in Russia and in Europe for the last 13 years. That’s basically an outbreak in wild boar. It has spread through most of eastern Europe and so far into Poland, that (it is) within seven miles of the German border. It’s been slow moving and few commercial operations have been infected.”

“Then you look at southeast Asia, and it’s a completely different story,” Wagstrom said. “Rumors are that over 60-percent of pigs in China have died. There are complications with repopulating sites. There are commercial pigs with a few wild pigs, and it’s spread throughout southeast Asia.”

Chinese government officials assist producers in rebuilding production facilities, with hopes of moving away from backyard farms. However, no signs point to a slowdown, according to Wagstrom.

Multiple government entities work to prevent this disease from entering the United States. Wagstrom commends those efforts, particularly those made by the Food and Drug Administration, U.S. Customs and Border Patrol, and U.S. Department of Agriculture.

“The U.S. government has been on point about this,” Wagstrom said. “USDA has provided more funding to Customs and Border Protection to increase the number of canine teams available at airports. Congress passed and the President authorized funding for 720 new agricultural agents, as well as more agricultural technicians at land ports, sea ports, and airports.”

Ensuring safety at our borders is America’s top line of defense, says Wagstrom.

Story courtesy of the Iowa Agribusiness Radio Network.

Photo from KIWA Image Archive