African Swine Fever (ASF) - Emergence - Your Guide to Transboundary & Emerging Diseases
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933
Total Reported Outbreaks
37
Total Affected Countries
4
Total Affected Species
Key Facts
Clinical Signs
Treatment and Management
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African Swine Fever is a very important viral disease affecting all ages of domestic and wild pigs and is currently the greatest threat to the global pig sector.


(Information on this page is adapted from ASF animations)

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African Swine Fever (ASF)

African Swine Fever (ASF) is present in Africa, Europe and Asia, which house 70% of the global pig population. Find out where the latest reported outbreaks are with this map.

Key Facts
Clinical Signs

The disease may present in different ways. In a naïve situation, only a small amount of virus may enter a farm, which means that initially only a few animals might be affected (e.g. 5-10). This is then followed by much higher numbers of affected animals as the virus spreads throughout the farm. In this situation the acute/peracute form is most commonly seen with animals showing high fever, lethargy, and haemorrhagic skin lesions (i.e. ears, feet, lower belly). Other forms of the disease include subacute and asymptomatic.

Treatment

There is no specific treatment to cure animals with ASF.

Management

The virus is very resistant in the environment and without an effective vaccine the management of the disease currently focusses on preventing outbreaks through good biosecurity. Double fencing and quarantine help prevent direct spread, whilst cleaning and disinfection of vehicles plus changing clothing for farm visitors help prevent indirect spread. It is essential to stop naïve animals contacting any kind of food that may contain pork products, so all human food must be disposed of appropriately. Kitchen scraps must not be fed to pigs and all tourists/travellers must adhere to advice regarding carrying certain foods whilst travelling. Raising awareness of the disease at all levels is important.

Piglets in an indoor enclosure, which could be susceptible to african swine fever
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Focus On… African Swine Fever – What to Expect?
African swine fever is no doubt one of the major animal health challenges worldwide. In today’s globalized world, any country with a pig or wild boar population could be next…
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Focus On... The Vital Role of Animal Traceability in Controlling Livestock Diseases
The implementation of effective biosecurity policies across the food chain has become increasingly vital to control the spread of livestock diseases and ensure the wellbeing of animals and humans alike around the world. The main prerequisite for such policies is livestock identification, as this enables the tracking and monitoring of all livestock movement over their lifetime. Traceability depends on identification For animal protein products (predominantly beef, pork, poultry, seafood, and dairy products), there is an abundance of food traceability programs around the world that take varying approaches and utilize a wide array of technologies. Regardless of the program, having a unique identifying tag that is associated with an animal from birth and cannot be easily removed is fundamental for them all. Cattle wearing Allflex Livestock Intelligence EID tag. Increasingly, livestock identification is seen as vital for food biosecurity. There were major uptakes in livestock identification requirements following disease crises, such as the Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE, Mad Cow Disease) epidemic in the 1980s and 1990s and the foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) outbreak in the UK in the early 2000s. Just a couple of years ago, African Swine Fever (ASF) outbreaks had a devastating impact on farmers in China, and the epidemic also affected domestic and wild pigs in other countries in Asia, Africa and Europe. In all these cases, the rudimentary information available on animal movement resulted in wide-swath culling. While instrumental in containing the disease and protecting consumers, the culling programs had severe effects on farmers’ businesses, national economies and food supply far beyond the geographic borders of the outbreak. Identification is just the start For food biosecurity, knowing the identity of an animal is not enough; it is vital to also know where that animal has been during every stage of its life. With basic livestock identification, it is possible to have a general idea of an animal’s movements over its lifetime. But combining identification with tissue sampling, diagnostic services, geolocation, and DNA profiling enables full traceability. And, once you have full traceability, then disease outbreaks can be contained faster, easier and with far less culling. Ideally, all stakeholders in the supply chain – from farmers to food producers, retailers, local councils and governments – should take collective responsibility for implementing such measures at the farm, regional, and national levels. In the case of farmers, biosecurity practices include the standardizing of hygiene procedures both onsite and offsite, the setting up of protection and surveillance zones, and the implementation of methods to identify, control, monitor, and record all livestock movements from birth. At the regional or national level, industry authorities, local councils, and governments can mandate biosecurity standards, policies, and systems that enforce compulsory identification, monitoring, and control measures for tracking the movement of farm animals from the time they are born and ensuring their lifetime traceability. Sheep wearing the Allflex Livestock Intelligence EID tags Digitization will be key The effective implementation of such livestock traceability systems requires the creation of a smart environment that integrates agriculture with digital solutions. This facilitates the tracking and monitoring of all livestock movement, as well as the collection of this data so that it can be easily accessed when the need arises. One potential approach is to develop comprehensive electronic identification and monitoring systems that integrate electronic identification tags with readers at more locations, making it possible to automatically collect livestock data from multiple sources into centralized and cloud-based national databases. This will facilitate full traceability for every animal from the time it is born. Highly valuable data can then be made available to farmers, local authorities, veterinarians, slaughterhouses, producers, retailers, and others in the food supply chain, and even consumers – for full transparency about the origins and health profiles of all livestock and related food products. The views expressed in this article are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent those of MSD Animal Health.
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Welcoming 2021
Welcome to a new edition of emergence and the beginning of a new year.  This always seems a natural time to reflect, both on what has happened in the last year and also on hopes for the coming one. Welcome to a new edition of emergence and the beginning of a new year.  This always seems a natural time to reflect, both on what has happened in the last year and also on hopes for the coming one. Last year was a complex one for transboundary and emerging diseases.  The pandemic brought the issue of One Health diseases to the fore, and this has had an important impact on how the world focuses on controlling these diseases.  However, it also meant a lot of funds were diverted from on-going control programs in order to deal with the emergency.  This could mean that, in the short-term, we are going to see a resurgence of certain viruses. What is clear is that we need to get better with our surveillance, both of the known diseases and of those emerging in the human:animal interface.  And this is where technology is coming in to play.  There are a lot of exciting developments that could change our knowledge and ability to predict where our focus needs to be.  Drones not only allow us to start delivering vaccines to areas previously difficult to access, but they can also be used for animal surveillance, helping us to learn more about animal numbers and movements, both domestic and wildlife.  Social media platforms allow us to hear people’s voices and to see new disease outbreaks in real time.  Improved animal tracking helps us follow not just where animals have come from, but also to retrospectively go back and find the nodes from where disease spreads.  These are exciting times. For the International Veterinary Health Team, innovation is a driver.  It is part of our everyday intent to discover improved ways of bringing you information.  The emergence podcast has allowed us to have interviews with experts, the new website is more interactive than ever, we hosted a virtual stand at the EuFMD OS20 meeting, and we started the Rabies 360 Challenge to leverage social media in raising awareness to rabies. Reach out to us with suggestions of topics you would like covered on the podcast and on the website.  We want to bring you the information that you need, and the best way for us to ensure that is by hearing from you. We will continue to look at new technologies and to explore just how they can help us all in the One Health community to bring improved health and welfare to animals and humans alike.  This is our commitment in looking forward to this year.
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