Photo: USDA

Last week, USDA-trained detector dogs played a major role in the seizure of smuggled pork from China where there is an outbreak of African swine fever (ASF). The highly contagious and deadly disease affects both domestic and feral (wild) pigs and there is no treatment or vaccine available for it.

Today, since prevention is our best protection against the disease, U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue is sharing information about the importance of keeping ASF out of the United States. It is vital for everyone to know about ASF and how to prevent it, while keeping the U.S. pig population healthy.

To help people learn more about this disease, as well as the steps that can be taken to help protect U.S. pigs, the USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service has updated its web content with additional information and links to partners’ resources. This information is available at www.aphis.usda.gov/animalhealth/swine/asf.

Additionally, USDA is releasing four infographics on the following topics:

USDA is monitoring the recent outbreaks of ASF is Asia and Europe, and has proactively taken steps to increase our safeguarding efforts to keep the disease out of the United States. These steps include:

  • Working with U.S. Customs and Border Protection at ports of entry, paying particular attention to cargo, passengers and products arriving from China and other ASF affected countries;
  • Increasing detector dog teams with U.S. Customs and Border Protection to sniff out illegal products at key U.S. commercial sea and airports (last week four new beagles, Chipper, Marlee, Chaze and Cardie, completed training and were placed at Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson and Chicago’s O’Hare airports);
  • Collaborating with states, industry and producers to ensure everyone follows strict on-farm biosecurity protocols and best practices (including for garbage feeding in states where that is allowed);
  • Restricting imports of pork and pork products from affected countries;
  • Coordinating closely on response plans with the U.S. pork industry, producers and States to be ready should a detection ever occur in the United States; and
  • Expanding the testing capabilities and testing capacity of the National Animal Health Laboratory Network.

USDA is committed to working with the swine industry, our producers, other government agencies and neighboring countries to prevent the spread of ASF. USDA tracks animal disease outbreaks around the world and remains on high alert to protect our farmers, our consumers and our natural resources from ASF or any foreign animal disease.

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