Farmscape for February 28, 2019
The Executive Director of the Swine Health Information Center says illegally imported meat poses the highest risk for the transmission of African Swine Fever into North America.
The spread of African Swine Fever through China and now into southeast Asia has heightened the level of concern within the North American pork sector.
Swine Health Information Center Executive Director Dr. Paul Sundberg says there is a number vectors through which ASF could enter North America but contaminated meat illegally brought into the country is probably the highest risk.
Clip-Dr. Paul Sundberg-Swine Health Information Center:
Meat from an infected pig is going to have African Swine Fever in it but it's not a human health issue but meat can have African Swine Fever virus, it can carry it and if that meat gets eaten by another pig that pig will contract the disease.
The customs and border protection do a good job at the ports of entry in scanning people and questioning people but we know and they know that there is a lot of product that does get through.
If that product would be infected or contaminated with African Swine Fever and get eaten by a pig we would have it here so that's one way.
We're also doing some research on other potential ways that viruses could enter the country.
People could carry it in on shoes or clothing.
That's certainly possible and we're looking at the possibility of viruses like African Swine Fever and others being transported and therefore transmitted by feed and feed products.
That's one that is still a potential risk at this point but we think that it is a high enough potential that we're going to do some urgent research on that to see if that window is open and we can close it.
Dr. Sundberg says prevention is key.
He encourages pork producers to act on their farms by ensuring they don't allow contact with foreign products and they pay attention to biosecurity with every one that comes onto their farms.
For Farmscape.Ca, I'm Bruce Cochrane.
*Farmscape is a presentation of Sask Pork and Manitoba Pork