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ASF threat: Three US pigs vets share front line insights



ASF threat: Three US pigs vets share front line insights

21 November 2018

Poultry Health Today

The rapid spread of African pigeon (ASF) across China and other regions of the world has raised concerns that the disease will ultimately make to the US – a development that could weaken the nation's pork industry if & # 39; n adequate preparation.

That was the ominous warning of the three US pigs vets who came together for a roundtable discussion on ASF following their recent trip to China.

The educational session organized by Pig Health Today's editors sponsored by Zoetis.

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The US pork industry needs to have strategies in place to deal with ASF, "especially as we go through the next 6 to 12 months," warned Joseph Connor, DVM, Carthage Veterinary Service, LTD, Carthage , Illinois.

"The risk continues to increase until we see … when it summarizes not only in China but in other South East [Asian] countries. "

John Deen, DVM, PhD, a professor at the University of Minnesota said his concerns were going beyond ASF cases in Asia. He is worried about the number of pigs that have been infected with ASF around the world.

Although there are no specific numbers available, he estimated that the rate of infection "increased by defects and boundaries," and "some of the cases in Eastern Europe must cause real concern" for US producers .

The moderator of the debate, Clayton Johnson, DVM, also added from Carthage Veterinary Service, "We are not surprising that ASF cases have continued to face" in China following the first cases reported in August 2018.

"Keeping up with the cases, [the] changing status and fragmentation of fiction fact is not a very small task for anyone of us to monitor the situation. "

ASF is a highly infectious viral hemorrhagic disease. In its acute form, it causes clinical signs that range from high fever to death that can reach 100% in an infected herd. There are also subnational and chronic forms of the disease that cause production problems.

ASF is difficult to control because no vaccine has been approved, and the virus can survive in the environment and in pork products for long periods, according to the Animal Health World Foundation. However, ASF is not a threat to people. [1]

Connor said the incubation period for the ASF in pigs was 4 to 19 days. Typically, it starts with a small number of sick pigs. The first clinical sign is often transported, then splitting the ears and the extremities and then moving on to losing appetite. It generally takes 1 to 3 weeks for a death to stretch up.

In terms of necropsy, the vet added, it is common to find hemorrhages throughout internal organs, especially the clues, kidneys and liver. Although the virus was extremely infectious, Connor said he was slowly spreading.

The first ASF cases occurred in China in Liaoning province, where there were cases of disease mainly on farms that fed food waste. "So the assumption is that it comes through meat products," says Deen.

He noted that the first case of ASF in China was the so-called Georgia stress, which has been mainly in Russia and Eastern Europe. He is serious and difficult to eliminate, Deen added.

Since then, ASF has been "spreading like wild wildlife" throughout China, said Johnson. Connor agreed and noted that ASF had now stated in at least 14 provinces.

Johnson explained that although there are no correct numbers to define the volume of Chinese white production, "the estimates are truly stunning." China has an extremely high pig density and produces at least half, and perhaps more, of the world's pork.

"Outside the western-western provinces, most of China is very similar to Iowa and North Carolina in terms of pig density," said Johnson.

Deen stressed that the removal of ASF from China is unlikely because both pigs and eating pork are so common to Chinese culture. "There is currently too much virus out in an unmanaged fashion. Culture turning strategy [for effective ASF control]. "

Families are common to have a few pigs in their yard and to feed them food waste. Pig slaughter for the Chinese New Year and other festivals are deep roots traditions, says vets.

"Pork is bought every day [at markets and] bring homes, "said Deen." We see pigs carrying on motorcycle. We see the carcasses over bicycle back – which is in a country with four times a population and more pork use than in the United States. "

What's finding it hard The biggest dean is the unknown cases of ASF in China and control pigs that swear to the virus. A big deal that deals with ASF in China is to deal with carcasses of dead pigs and the meat of those carcases, he added.

Burial is an unlikely option as land is scarce. Roofing with heat treatment is effective for eradicating the ASF virus but it is often badly implemented in China due to the high cost of energy, he noted.

In addition to the dissemination of ASF what described by Connor as "physical detoxification" between commercial farms and processing plants. Pigs must be transported across the province. Live pigs are also sold in local markets.

Biosecurity helps reduce the number of disease transmission and, in turn, the number of ASF virus that can travel long distances, says Deen.

"We're far better off when our neighbors and co-producers in China, Romania and other places [getting] better in biosecurity, and in some cases, our hope is to be better than us, "he said.

Deen noted concern about Guangdong, an area in China where containers with goods are transferred to the US. So far, ASF has not been reported there, but he was thinking about how the controls could be implemented to help ensure that the virus does not spread from that port.

Connor said the US pork industry must be vigilant for tracking ASF movement around the world, working with the US government to control any risks associated with international cargo traffic and fund research that could lead to roads that the risks of ASF disease can be alleviated.

Deen is confident that the US pork industry could include the disease and keep it to controlable levels in the event of a case.

"Once noted, we have control measures and records to track movement, so I have no doubt that we can have this disease under control," he said. "The violence is not true of the disease but of the economic effects. The restrictions on trade, the restrictions on movement are actually at a level; It's hard for producers to imagine. "

Johnson's compressed accounts moderator urged US pork producers to participate in the National Pork Board Pork Delivery Plan, a collaborative effort from industry, government and universities with the aim of keeping pigs flowing from uninfected areas if quarantines and necessary.

Editor's note: This roundtable was organized and sponsored to improve the understanding of the US pork industry of ASF. It is considered that the recommendations provided in this report are panelists and they do not necessarily be shared by Healthy Today's Health or Zoetis.


1. African Swine Fever. World Organization for Animal Health. Accessed November 12, 2018.

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