CAFRE’s Liz Donnelly speaks to Gemma Daly, Senior Principal Veterinary Officer with DAERA, about ASF – African Swine Fever, about the signs and measures pig farmers, can take.
What are the signs of ASF?
The clinical signs of ASF vary, with many signs similar to other pig diseases.
Early signs include:
- A high fever;
- Loss of appetite;
- Sudden death without the appearance of other signs.
Later signs include:
- Reddening of the skin with patches on the tips of the ears, tail, feet, chest or under the belly;
- Laboured breathing;
- Swollen red eyes;
- Discharge from the eyes.
What are the top three things a pig farmer can do to reduce the risk?
Biosecurity, biosecurity, biosecurity! ASF virus is extremely resistant and can survive on clothes, boots, wheels and other materials.
Therefore, only allow essential visitors to your farm and insist they wear clean or disposable clothing and footwear and wash their hands (or shower if possible).
Do not allow people who have been in contact with other pigs onto the farm. Only allow vehicles and equipment that have been cleaned and disinfected onto your farm.
ASF virus can also survive in pork products. Do not allow staff/visitors to bring pork products onto the farm, and do not feed catering waste or scraps to your pigs.
Feeding food waste of animal origin or food waste which has been in contact with products of animal origin, whether raw or cooked, is illegal.
Has the risk of ASF increased, and if so, why?
Yes, the risk of ASF occurring within the UK has increased. In recent months, ASF has spread over long distances to previously unaffected areas in Europe.
The most recent case was in northwest Germany, close to the border with the Netherlands.
None of the recent cases are due to the movement of infected pigs. Human-mediated transport of infected products or contaminated equipment/products are the likely cause of spread.
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