GOSHEN, Ind. — With the news that African Swine Fever (ASF) is spreading quickly in Asia and Europe, it is time for pork producers in the USA to learn more about this disease.
ASF is a highly contagious and usually fatal virus that affects only hogs, not humans. Clinical signs vary, including high fever, decreased appetite and weakness. Skin may be reddened, blotchy, or have blackened lesions. Infected pigs may exhibit diarrhea, vomiting, coughing, and/or difficulty breathing. Pregnant sows may abort. Death generally happens 7 days to 10 days after onset of clinical signs; however, sudden death can occur in newly exposed herds. Animals that recover can carry and shed the virus for several months. No vaccine is available. ASF does not impact food safety or human health.
The Indiana State Board of Animal Health (BOAH) and Indiana Pork hosted a meeting on September 4th to discuss emergency preparedness for high-consequence disease events. It has been archived on the internet at https://tiny.cc/swinedisease for those who wish to see it. Several pork producers and a veterinarian have told me it is well worth the time they spent watching the program.
It is important to be prepared and to understand what will happen if ASF reaches the states. When the highly pathogenic avian influenza event swept through the turkey farms in southern Indiana in 2016, the BOAH took key steps to keep the devastating disease contained. The BOAH veterinarians will adapt those lessons learned from that outbreak to the pork industry.
One key thing learned from 2016, for instance, is that there are more people out there with small flocks of poultry than you would think. Getting ahold of those people in the infection zone was a key to bringing the flu under control.
Those who have livestock on their property should register their site on Indiana’s premises ID site at https://www.in.gov/boah/2642.htm. In the event of a disease outbreak, this information is vital to contain the spread of the infection. Indiana’s premises registration law includes cattle, bison, cervids (deer), swine, sheep and goats. Poultry and aquaculture are also part of Indiana’s plan. This includes animals raised for 4-H, exhibition and pets, as well as those for meat, milk or other commercial uses. Although it is not mandatory, equine and camelids may register voluntarily.
— Purdue Extension Elkhart County
For more news from Indiana, click here.