WASHINGTON–(BUSINESS WIRE)–The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) today announced new efforts to help prevent the introduction and spread of the African swine fever in the United States. “, APHIS will support commercial pork producers, veterinarians, and pig owners with information and resources to help protect the U.S. pig population and the pork industry.
African swine fever is a deadly and highly contagious viral disease that affects both domestic and feral pigs. It has no impact on human health but spreads rapidly between pig populations. People can also unknowingly spread the disease on their clothing, farm equipment, or by carrying uncooked pork products. African swine fever has never been detected in the United States, but has recently been confirmed in countries as close as the Dominican Republic and Haiti. There is no effective treatment or vaccine against the disease.
“African swine fever is already devastating pork industries and economies around the world, and if detected in the United States, it could devastate our pig population, the nation’s pork industry, and farming communities,” said Jenny Lester, USDA Undersecretary for Marketing and Regulatory Programs. Moffitt.
The United States is one of the largest pork producers in the world and the second largest pork exporter in the world. If the disease arrives here, it is estimated that it could cost the United States $50 billion over 10 years.
Commercial pork producers, veterinarians and pig owners are part of the country’s first line of defense against African swine fever. There are over 60,000 pork producers nationwide employing over half a million workers. An estimated 250,000 to 1 million potbellied pigs are kept as pets and there are over 1,500 pig vets.
APHIS deploys a variety of outreach efforts to support these critical stakeholders. The new Protect Our Pigs website, aphis.usda.gov/ProtectOurPigs, will contain materials such as downloadable fact sheets and posters, instructional videos, shareable social media graphics, a new interactive biosecurity guide, and offer the latest disease updates. If African swine fever is detected in the United States, APHIS will also be ready to respond immediately with actionable information and resources for pig owners and the public.
As part of these outreach efforts, on June 29 at 3 p.m. EDT, APHIS will host African swine fever: what you need to know, which will feature a panel of experts representing the pork industry, pig owners and veterinarians who will discuss the latest disease news, protective measures and answer questions. To learn more and register for the event, go to: https://www.facebook.com/events/5417174611628019?ref=newsfeed.
“The USDA works every day to keep this disease from crossing our borders and the Protect Our Pigs campaign is just one of the many ways we do that. We are also meeting with pork producers to learn how we can best support their ongoing work in this area, increasing testing in pigs and conducting innovative vaccine research,” said Dr. Jack Shere, Associate Administrator at APHIS and former Chief Veterinarian. “Together, we can fight this disease and protect America’s swine population, people’s livelihoods and way of life.”
The USDA touches the lives of all Americans every day in so many positive ways. In the Biden-Harris administration, the USDA is transforming the US food system with greater emphasis on more resilient local and regional food production, fairer markets for all producers, ensuring access to safe food, healthy and nutritious in all communities, creating new markets and income streams for farmers and producers using climate-smart food and forestry practices, making historic investments in clean energy infrastructure and capacity in the rural America, and committing to equity across the department by removing systemic barriers and creating a workforce that is more representative of America. To learn more, visit www.usda.gov.