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  • Raising awareness: African Swine Fever

    Posted on by Abii Dowdy

    Chief Veterinary Officers are uniting to raise awareness of the risk of African Swine Fever to UK pigs.

    All vets in the UK play a crucial role in keeping our country free of exotic notifiable diseases, helping to prevent devastating impacts on the welfare of our animals and farm businesses. The Chief Veterinary Officer for the UK, as well as the CVO’s for Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales have now all combined forces to help raise awareness about the risk of African Swine Fever coming to the UK.

    If an outbreak of ASF hits the UK, there will be heightened disease control measures and potentially a ban on pork exports. This would have a huge financial impact on the UK’s pig industry. Furthermore, our smaller groups of native rare breeds could also be endangered if they come in to contact with the disease and need to be culled to prevent further spread of ASF.

    As discussed in our previous blog, African Swine Fever was detected in Belgium during September 2018. It was discovered in wild boar found dead near the Luxembourg region near to the border of France. The disease has managed to move large distances due to the movement of infected meat products or materials/equipments contaminated with the ASF virus. The virus is able to survive at high levels in meat, blood and carcasses of infected pigs, as well as in their droppings and manure. This means the virus can be spread a number of ways including by vehicles, equipment, clothing and boots.

    Please not that there is no effective vaccine to control African Swine Fever but fortunately it does not infect humans so there is no risk to the public’s health.

    For tips on how to prevent potential contamination of pigs in the UK please refer to our previous blog, found below:

    https://towcester-vets.co.uk/2018/10/african-swine-fever/

    Biosecurity advice is available on the AHDB website:

    https://pork.ahdb.org.uk/pig-production/biosecurity/

    For updates on this disease and which regions have been infected please head to the GOV.UK website, found below:

    https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/animal-diseases-international-monitoring#outbreak-assessments-2018

    Images of the clinical signs and pathology of ASF are also available as a reminder of what it looks like:

    http://apha.defra.gov.uk/documents/surveillance/diseases/african-swine-fever-images.pdf

    If you suspect you have identified ASF, report it to the Animal and Plant Health Agency immediately: 03000 200 301