African swine fever continues to spread

African swine fever continues to spread
May 28, 2019

By Jonathan Martin

Staff Writer


African swine fever (ASF) is still burning its way through China’s swine herds.

Over the past week, ASF has killed 87 pigs in three locations. The Chinese government is executing its ASF Epidemic Emergency Implementation Plan in a continued effort to contain the outbreaks, a May 21 Chinese state release says.

Since the China Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs confirmed its first ASF outbreak in Liaoning Province on Aug. 3, 2018, officials have detected 133 ASF outbreaks in 32 regions. In total, officials and farmers have culled 1,129,000 pigs to try to prevent further spread of the disease, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations reports.

ASF hasn’t made its way into North America, but the U.S. and Canada have developed collaborative strategies to handle a potential outbreak.

On May 24, the U.S. and Canada’s chief veterinary officers announced that the Canadian Food Inspection Agency and the United States Department of Agriculture agreed to allow “safe trade” to continue in the event ASF is reported in either country.

The two nations modified their export certificates to allow trade of live swine, swine semen, pet food, animal by-products and meat to continue in approved disease-free zones in the event of an ASF outbreak.

In the U.S., pork producers marketed over 120 million hogs in 2017, which provided total cash receipts of more than US$20 billion. Canadian pork producers saw almost C$4.5 billion in cash receipts that same year.

At a Feb. 21 meeting, the U.S., Canada and Mexico agreed to work together to prevent infected pork from crossing their respective borders.

So far, the partnership has proved successful. has reached out to the Chinese government for further comment.

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