African Swine Fever – What is it?

African Swine Fever – What is it?


African swine fever is a hemorrhagic disease
of swine. It is caused by African swine fever virus. It’s highly adapted to wild pigs, warthogs
and bush pigs, in sub-Saharan Africa where it cycles between those wild species and soft
ticks. And that’s the natural life cycle of the virus. African swine fever has never been in the
United States. But what’s most interesting now is in 2007,
the virus actually spread from Africa into the Republic of Georgia through the Port at
Poti, and now more recently has spread to China and further into Southeast Asia, as
well as pressing west going into Eastern Europe. I think the risk to the U.S. is probably quite
real, with the extensive amount of global trade. I’m often asked, “Is pork safe to eat in ASF-endemic
regions?” I would say the answer to that is yes, because,
first of all infected animals would not be entering the food supply and second of all,
the virus is highly adapted to swine species and is unable to infect humans. There’s really no evidence at all that ASF
infects humans. The question is often asked about, “Are other
animal species susceptible to African swine fever?” And again, the virus is highly adapted to
swine and there’s really no scientific evidence that other species are affected, this would
be domestic animals: pets, cats, dogs. When it comes to food safety, in relation
to African swine fever, it’s very important to really try and understand the facts. And when you look at the facts, you will come
away quite confident that the disease, the virus, the disease poses no risk to humans.

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