U.S. veterinarian: African swine fever virus still poses threat

by | Nov 24, 2020 | 5 Ag Stories, News

While election results and coronavirus updates dominate news headlines, we must not be quick to forget a story which took precedent not all that long ago – The African swine fever virus.

Dr. Liz Wagstrom, chief veterinarian at the National Pork Producers Council, says, “We still have a threat.”

“We continue to watch African Swine Fever move across Europe. Southeast Asia is still experiencing a significant outbreak and is continuing to move through Indonesia, the Philippines and into Malaysia,” Dr. Wagstrom says.

National Pork Producers Council staff focus on prevention and preparedness, as foreign nations struggle to contain the rapid outbreak.

“The situation in Europe is tough. They have a high density of wild boar, and they have propagated them because hunting is such a big part of their culture. Once it gets into a wild boar population, it’s almost impossible to control,” Dr. Wagstrom says.

“If you look at Germany and most of Poland, there have been few outbreaks in domestic pigs,” Dr. Wagstrom says. “The domestic farms that have gone down are small backyard farms. That’s in contrast to what we’re seeing in China and Vietnam, where it’s been more of a disease of their domestic swine herds and (it’s) gotten into larger systems.”

Dr. Wagstrom’s hope is, “If we do get African swine fever in the United States, we don’t get it in our feral population because it would be almost impossible to eradicate.” Preventative efforts have been limited, due to the global health pandemic.

Stay tuned for additional updates!