Prioritizing biosecurity to prevent ASF

Prioritizing biosecurity to prevent ASF
Jan 08, 2019

North America faces increased disease danger due to imports from affected regions

Staff Writer
North America is emphasizing biosecurity due to the spread of African swine fever (ASF) in China and other regions of the world.
The increasing risk of exposing the North American swine herd to the disease means proper biosecurity practices are essential, Dr. Paul Sundberg, executive director of the Swine Health Information Centre, said in a Farmscape article today. 
 “The level of risk has increased, (and) it's certainly (still) increasing … There's no doubt about it,” he said in the article. 
With “the outbreak of ASF in China, it has seeded down the environment such with that virus that I think we're under increased pressure of importing that virus versus the others because it is so active over there now,” he said. “It has gotten in the environment, the pigs, the people, everything that moves, and we've got a lot of air traffic coming from Asia (and) southeast Asia … I think our pressure under that virus has certainly increased.”
If producers and veterinarians do not prioritize biosecurity, the risk of ASF entering North America could increase, Sundberg told today.
“The U.S. government is responsible for national biosecurity at the points of entry,” he explained. “But, on-farm biosecurity is the portion of ASF and other disease prevention over which producers have direct control. (On-farm biosecurity) is the last defense against ASF and other foreign animal diseases infecting our pigs. Think globally but act locally.”
The industry faces the risk of other diseases, too. “There's Foot and Mouth Disease, there's classical swine fever, there's Pseudorabies … all of those are endemic in China, for example,” Sundberg said.
With assistance from the United States Department of Agriculture and the Department of Homeland Security, in combination with support from the equivalents in Canada, the industry can work together to prevent these diseases from entering North America, Sundberg said. has reached out to the Swine Health Information Centre for comment. 
deyanarobova/iStock/Getty Images Plus photo
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