African Swine Fever: A Potential Threat
While Florida is not home to many commercial swine operations, many Floridians have dealt with feral swine as outdoor enthusiasts, land owners, and/or have or know children who exhibit hogs at youth fair and other livestock shows. At the very least, most Floridians are consumers of pork or other meat products and can appreciate the importance of protecting our livestock herds from diseases that could devastate our industries. We also recognize, that with our many ports and points of entry, Florida endures one of the highest risks to threats of foreign animal disease outbreaks. Therefore, as Floridians, it is important that we are vigilant to these potential threats.
In early August, the Dominican Republic was confirmed as an African Swine Fever (ASF) affected country. African swine fever is a highly contagious and deadly viral disease affecting both domestic and feral swine of all ages. ASF is found in countries around the world, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa. More recently, it has spread through China, Mongolia and Vietnam, as well as within parts of the European Union. It has never been found in the United States. This most recent detection in the Dominican Republic of the Caribbean Islands is of great concern as it demonstrates the spread of this disease moving closer to our US borders.
What can you do?:
- Report sick or dead feral swine.
- Know the signs of African Swine Fever and immediately report any sick pigs.
- Implement biosecurity measures (this is something we should do to prevent all disease outbreaks!)
- Traveling internationally or know someone travelling internationally? Don’t bring it home! The virus can be carried on clothing, shoes and hands; and can survive for months in pork products.
- Learn more about African Swine Fever at the USDA APHIS/African Swine Fever (ASF) website.
- Understand how the disease is transmitted and how it could infect our swine populations
Please help all of us protect our animal industries.
If you have any questions, contact your local County Extension Office or the Florida Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services State Veterinarian’s Office at firstname.lastname@example.org or (850) 410-0900 (during office hours) or (800) 342-5869 (after hours).