Current Efforts to Exclude ASF
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and U.S. Customs and Border
Protection have enhanced their readiness and defensive stance against ASF. 4 Federal
agencies are working with Canada and Mexico, as well as agriculture agencies in all
50 states, to provide surveillance and enhance biosecurity. Airports most likely to be
points of entry for smuggled pork products will have increased inspection and will
use more detector dogs to sniff out animal products. And, of course, import of pork
and animal-derived products from infected nations will be prohibited.
Stock prices for U.S. fast-food providers5 and for animal protein producers have
commercial hog industry overlaps the
northern edge of the feral swine and
soft tick populations, increasing the
chance for transmission from feral swine
to commercial swine (Figure 1). This
overlap also increases chances for estab-
lishing a chronically infected feral swine
population that would extend the epi-
demic, perhaps making ASF endemic.
The hard freeze of winter decreases
the tick population and may well curtail
transmission of ASF, as seen with other
arthropod-borne diseases. However,
the prevalence of Lyme borreliosis has
increased, perhaps because of the increased survival of tick vectors due to
global warming. The global warming
factor increases the difficulty of projecting the actual course of ASF control.
The most optimistic chronology for
returning to production would be the
time needed to depopulate and disinfect
the premises, plus the 30 days the premises are required to remain empty and
the time needed for sentinel animals to
remain disease- or antibody-free. That
easily adds up to 2 months. If pregnant
sows are then restocked, the interval
increases to 114 days for gestation and 6
months until the pigs are market-ready.
Thus, afflicted producers and those in
contiguous depopulated properties, as
well as growers in quarantined counties,
could be unprofitable for about a year.
This is in stark contrast to the resolution of the 2013 porcine epidemic
diarrhea (PED) outbreak in the U.S.,
in which growers were encouraged to
expose sows quickly so that they developed natural antibodies to the virus and
passed that protection to several generations of offspring. However, PED ultimately spread to 31 states and reduced
the crop of feeder pigs by 10%, without
halting operations. An outbreak of ASF
of similar extent would cripple swine
rearing in the U.S. for many months.
Five factors contribute to the threat
of an outbreak of ASF in the U.S.: globalization and exchange of people and
foods; climate change; growing numbers
of feral swine; introduction of new soft-tick vectors; and uncontrolled spread of
ASF from its natural reservoir.
TandD US, LLC.
firstname.lastname@example.org (518)669-9227 www.tandd.com
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