African Swine Fever - Advanced Biosecurity Program

African Swine Fever (ASF) can be considered one of the most feared epidemic diseases of pig production, the others being Swine Vesicular Disease (SVD), Porcine epidemic diarrhoea virus (PEDv) and Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD).

ASF is extremely dangerous due to its highly contagious characteristics, ability to be easily spread via a variety of vectors, high morbidity and mortality rates, and extreme resilience to withstand high and low temperatures. Add to this the fact that there is currently no effective treatment or vaccine available, and it is easy to understand why pig producers fear this disease.

 

So how can the spread of this highly contagious and devastating pig disease be prevented and controlled?

Biosecurity is the only real way of stopping its spread. It will reduce the impact on affected farms and will be a key to clinical recovery and virus elimination, especially on larger farms. Producers need to achieve the highest possible levels of biosecurity, leveraged by good buy-in and compliance from management, their staff and their suppliers.

ASF is very good at ‘Hitching a ride’ so it spreads easily. A high proportion of spread will be by pig transportation, and so is the first target of biosecurity. However, there are many other means of spread. All other transport is a risk, from feed to dead-haul, to service vehicles, to manure removal. Perhaps the next biggest risk is from transmission via contact with wild boar. People can also be vectors, via their clothes, on their boots and equipment, or any inanimate objects they may bring onto the unit.

The virus may persist in uncooked meat products and swill for several months, and therefore could be transmitted via contaminated pig feed, or meat products ingested. Aerial spread has been demonstrated, but only over short distances and is unlikely to be a major factor.

ADVANCED BIOSECURITY IS THE ANSWER

For biosecurity to be effective against ASF there must be good planning, good procedures, good training and good tools.

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