Chinese ASF lessons learned
European Union ASF lessons learned
US ASF producer actions
Last week, Qinghai, a Chinese province in the center of the country, reported its first ASF outbreak, making it 21 out of a total of 34 Chinese provinces reporting to be affected by the epidemic (Map 1). Sichuan, the top pork producer in the country, reported its second outbreak, which was also one of the biggest until now with 26,241 destroyed animals. Concerns that ASF may have spread further, and that a high impact to pork suppliers may be seen in coming months, still remains.
Meanwhile, Russia reported four new classical swine fever (CSF) outbreaks in wild boars in its eastern provinces that border Heilongjiang province (China). While ASF has now spread across much of Romania, particularly in the south, the monthly number of outbreaks in domestic pigs in Romania appears to be reducing considerably since July. Similarly, in Poland, the number of outbreaks in domestic pigs was greatly reduced in the last three months with none reported in October-November.
Reshaping China swine industry:
A national conference on ASF control was held in Beijing this month. The need for strengthening ASF prevention and control in a comprehensive way was emphasized, and short and mid/long term priorities were listed, including (1) increasing the strictness of the implementation of current measures, (2) taking strong actions against all kind of violations, and (3) improving regional control coordination (e.g., zoning efforts) and supervision mechanisms. The need to adjust and optimize the production and movement of pigs, which would require setting up a rationally designed plan to layout pig breeding, to effectively increase the adjustment of slaughtering capacity layout, and to support the construction of modern cold meat circulation and distribution system limiting the transportation through long distances, were presented.
Farmers with fewer than 500 pigs a year account for 40 percent percent of China’s production, and ASF seems to be catalyzing a change in the industry structure, as those farms have been more heavily affected by the epidemic in comparison to large-scale farms with higher biosecurity protocols. Recently, Rabobank released a report presenting an acceleration of the consolidation trend.
Lessons learned – risk awareness:
On December 7, the Chinese General Office of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs released a report on the typical cases of violations of law and regulations in the prevention and control of ASF in China since August. After the epidemiological investigation, and based in the traceability of the epidemic sources, it has been stated that illegal operations, like illegally transferring and selling pigs, are an important cause for the epidemic spread. Some key examples of this report may serve as lessons learned to inform preparedness plans and raise industry awareness in ASF-free countries in the region and worldwide.
Aligned with the challenges reported by the Chinese authorities recently, the Global ASF Research Alliance (GARA) released a GAP analysis report, where their main weaknesses of current countermeasures were identified.
The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) recently published a report updating the epidemiology situation of ASF in the European Union (EU). The report provides detailed insights regarding the dynamic and trends of ASF in the Baltic States and Eastern European countries. Specific analysis along features of ASF transmission in the region are presented, that can help to paint the larger worldwide transmission risks of ASF.
The report highlights the disease pattern of ASF in Romania as an exception to other affected countries. Compared to other European countries, Romania had a higher incidence of reported ASF in their domestic herd compared to wild boar. They concluded that the vast majority of introductions was caused by indirect contact (fomites or environment) rather than direct contact with infected pigs or wild boar and inadequate biosecurity contributed in most but not all cases.
The effectiveness of current control strategies of wild boar population was evaluated.
Recommendations for ASF control in four different epidemiological scenarios regarding wild boar population were presented, based on three features: the ASF status of the area, the presence of neighboring infected areas, and how recent is the ASF introduction to the area.
Underpinning the biosecurity recommendation should be consideration of the virus’s ability to survive in carcasses/the environment (pork products, carcasses, contaminated fomites) and the experiences during the current epidemic with evidence of human-assisted movement of virus, on several occasions over long distances.
In the December mid-month Global Swine Disease Monitoring Report from the Swine Health Information Center (SHIC), a collection of observations and lessons learned from African swine fever (ASF) outbreaks in China and Europe are shared. In addition, recommendations for US producers to follow to continue to prevent the entry of the virus in this country are detailed. ASF continues to spread in China with Qinghai province reporting their first cases of the virus. It appears the spread in Romania and Poland has slowed. Earlier this month, both China’s General Office of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs as well as the Global ASF Research Alliance released analyses and reports on the issues surrounding the spread of the virus. The mid-month report includes a summary of each.
When returning to the United States after visiting a farm or being in contact with animals in a country (or countries) with African swine fever (ASF), or any other foreign animal disease, you should declare this information to US Customs and Border Patrol via written form, airport kiosk, or verbally. Then you should be diverted for an ag secondary screening by an ag specialist. The Swine Health Information Center (SHIC), National Pork Board, National Pork Producers Council, and American Association of Swine Veterinarians are asking you to report your experience if you are not diverted for secondary screening with return to the US following overseas travel.
If you are NOT diverted for secondary screening after declaring you have been on a farm or in contact with animals in an ASF or other foreign animal disease positive nation, please email the following to firstname.lastname@example.org:
Dr. Sundberg will be aggregating this information and the organizations will share with US Customs and Border Patrol to help identify any weaknesses in their protocol and systems.
ASF is endemic in Sardinia, most countries of subSaharan Africa, and some West African countries. Since August 2018, the spread of ASF through Russia, Belgium, the Caucasus, the Baltic states, Poland, and China has been monitored. At present, ASF has never been reported in the United States, Canada, Australia, or New Zealand.
Thank you for your help as we continue to implement steps designed to reduce the risk of ASF spreading to the US swine herd.
EFSA (European Food Safety Authority), Boklund A, Cay B, Depner K, F€oldi Z, Guberti V, Masiulis M, Miteva A, More S, Olsevskis E, Satran P, Spiridon M, Stahl K, Thulke H-H, Viltrop A, Wozniakowski G, Broglia A, Cortinas Abrahantes J, Dhollander S, Gogin A, Verdonck F, Amato L, Papanikolaou A and Gortazar C, 2018. Scientific report on the epidemiological analyses of African swine fever in the European Union (November 2017 until November 2018). EFSA Journal 2018;16(11):5494, 106 pp. https://doi.org/10.2903/j.efsa.2018.5494.