Foreign Animal Disease: Preparing for the Worst

 

By Dr. Brent Pepin, DVM, Pipestone Veterinary Service

via AgWeb - February 5, 2019

 

Everyone who works with pigs is likely aware of the spread of African Swine Fever (ASF) across Europe and Asia. This seemly unstoppable sweeping of disease is a concern for swine farmers worldwide. Even with a vast ocean separating North America, it only takes one failure in biosecurity for ASF to reach our soil. The most significant risks for spread include contaminated feed ingredients, feral pigs and humans. Humans can spread the disease as fomites (direct contact or through contaminated vehicles/equipment) or through the movement of contaminated pork products. ASF can survive in affected pork products from a few months to indefinitely depending on the processing and preservation methods used. Although ASF poses no threat to human health, it can be devastating to pig populations. So the question becomes – what can we do to prepare our farms for potential foreign animal disease?

 

Upon diagnosis of a Foreign Animal Disease (FAD), state officials will work to establish a control area around the infected site. This control area will encompass a geographical space large enough to contain disease spread with strict control of animal movements. If a farm in the proximity of yours becomes infected, you likely will be placed in a disease control area by officials. It is expected all animal movements in this control area will be stopped until officials establish the at-risk farms. Moving animals between sites or to market in this area will then only be allowed on a permit basis from Regulatory Officials. While in this control area, you will have to provide proof that you took additional steps to protect your farm to be able to move pigs to and from your site. These extra steps may include regular testing of your pigs, increased documentation of animal, equipment, and people movements, and increase requirements for biosecurity.

 

The place to start for information on preparing your farm is talking to your veterinarian and visiting the Secure Pork Supply site. The secure pork website is a collaboration effort between the USDA, Pork Checkoff, government officials, Iowa State University and the University of Minnesota. Here the site provides the “Secure Pork Plan” which outlines the expectations and control strategy for producers, veterinarians, and packers if a FAD like ASF enters the U.S. Your veterinarian will be the best source for advice specific to your farm for preparation. When reading the Secure Pork Supply plan, it is essential to understand that it acts only as a guideline and if a FAD break does occur, Regulatory officials can change the strategy at any time to best fit the situation.

 

In the meantime, here are steps you can take now to prepare your farm.

 

1.    Apply or update your Premise ID Number (PIN) ...

 

2.    Develop an enhanced biosecurity plan ...

 

3.    Keep visitor logs and movement records ...

 

4.    Observe and monitor ...

 

5.    Consider the financial equation ...

 

more, including links

https://www.agweb.com/article/foreign-animal-disease-preparing-for-the-worst/