COLUMBIA, Mo. – While African Swine Fever (ASF) continues to spread across Europe and China, US pork producers and pork industry stakeholders are advised to be aware and prepare for the looming threat of the disease, according to animal health officials at the Univ. of Missouri’s Agriculture and Natural Resources Extension. While no cases of ASF have been reported in the US, the disease is sweeping across Europe and as recently as Sept. 6, a new case was detected in China, the 13th case in that country. Read more about ASF in the September issue of MEAT+POULTRY.

Corinne Bromfield, DVM with MU Extension, said in a statement that producers in the US should be aware of the threats as some cases in China are discovered hundreds of miles apart, which puzzles researchers about how and where it may spread next. While the disease is not a threat to humans, it is devastating to herds and poses an economic threat among global trading partners. There is no vaccine available to control ASF and culling of herds is the only current method of controlling it.

In a statement from MU Extension, Bromfield said ASF spreads quickly from pig to pig and infection occurs through direct secretions, through contact with contaminated objects and through ticks. Infection also can occur during the shipping of meat from one country to another.

“We do not have ASF in the United States at this time, but if it were to come here, rapid detection is our best chance for eradicating the disease,” Bromfield said feed made using ingredients from outside US borders poses a threat to hogs here. Effective biosecurity programs are recommended as an effective way to stave off the spread of the disease.

“ASF is considered a trade-limiting disease,” Bromfield said. “Most countries have regulations prohibiting or controlling live swine and pork product imports from other countries,” said Bromfield.

She encourages US producers to review their biosecurity practices sooner rather than later, including asking their feed suppliers about the origin of their feed ingredients and ensuring their suppliers also utilize biosecurity measures.