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Hogs health threatened by swine disease outbreak

Posted at 11 a.m. on September 16, 2019

The Brillion News

MADISON – Since the outbreak of African swine fever (ASF) started in Asia last year, the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP) has been working with industry partners to protect the U.S. pork supply.

ASF has not been confirmed in North America and aggressive measures across the nation have been implemented to prevent the disease from infecting U.S. swine herds. ASF is not a human health or food safety concern, but it is a highly contagious, viral disease that kills majority of infected pigs.

There is no vaccine or treatment at this time; pigs exposed to the virus are euthanized to prevent the spread of disease.

“We have been working closely with USDA (U.S. Department of Agriculture), pork producers, businesses, and organizations to prepare for African swine fever through emergency planning,” said Dr. Darlene Konkle, acting State Veterinarian. “Advance planning gives us the advantage of identifying and working through challenges and having immediate resources to prevent the spread of African swine fever if it is discovered here. Individuals who implement enhanced biosecurity and utilize the Secure Pork Supply plan for their swine operation will have the strongest defenses against this disease.”

To help Wisconsin swine owners and veterinarians to defend against ASF (and many other diseases), DATCP is advising individuals to focus on the following key areas:

• Prevent ASF from entering your farm by following sound biosecurity practices.

• Observe your animals regularly for any clinical signs of ASF.

• Report suspected cases of disease to your veterinarian immediately.

• Keep up with ASF information and be ready to adapt to changing conditions.

Information about biosecurity, clinical signs, how to report suspected cases of ASF, and industry resources are available on DATCP’s website at

Starting September 23, USDA will hold a four-day national, functional exercise in collaboration with 14 of the largest pork-producing states. Participating states will use the exercise to evaluate their readiness for ASF.

While Wisconsin is not participating in the exercise, a DATCP animal health official will serve as an exercise moderator and use the information gathered and lessons learned to update the state’s plan for ASF.

Earlier this summer, DATCP and USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service invited stakeholders to discuss the implications of a national swine movement standstill that USDA would likely implement if ASF is confirmed in North America. DATCP is using the outcomes of those discussions to update its foreign animal disease response plans.

DATCP has also increased its surveillance for ASF – pigs that are tested for classical swine fever (CSF) will also be tested for ASF. CSF has similar symptoms to ASF but is a different type of foreign animal disease that DATCP monitors.

USDA requires states to test a certain number of pigs for both ASF and CSF based on the number of pigs in their state – Wisconsin’s target is to test 100 pigs for ASF and CSF by April 1, 2020.

DATCP is working to ensure the necessary steps are in place to protect swine herds from ASF.



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