Italian ASF Outbreak Example of People Movement of Infection

Farmscape for February 9, 2022

Full Interview 11:12 Listen

The Executive Director of the Swine Health Information Center suggests the discovery of African Swine Fever in Italy is an example of how the movement of people can spread the infection. As part of its February enewsletter the Swine Health Information Center has released its monthly domestic and global swine disease surveillance reports. SHIC Executive Director Dr. Paul Sundberg says the big news on the global front has been the movement of African Swine Fever into Italy and Thailand.

Clip-Dr. Paul Sundberg-Swine Health Information Center:
The outbreak, African Swine Fever showing up in Italy, the European Union shut down trade from Italy in that area, both in pigs and products in that control area until the first part of April. That’s in the works right now of Italy’s response to that movement.
That movement happened probably from eastern Europe over an area of 600 miles. I think the lesson to be learned there is that African Swine Fever can move very fast if it’s moved by people. That’s most probably what happened here in some manner, whether it was an illegal transport of a pig or transport of some meat, whether it was illegal importation or it was an importation of a sandwich that somebody didn’t know have ASF in it because ASF is not a food safety issue, it only affects pigs. As well we’ve had the first report of ASF in Thailand now.

That’s still very much a work in progress because we don’t know exactly the extent yet of that outbreak although the possibilities for outbreaks and infections in Thailand, I don’t believe have been reported to the OIE yet. We’re getting reports from on the ground that it’s much more extensive than what the official reports are and so we’re keeping an eye on that as well.

Dr. Sundberg says any place there’s movement of pigs or products, that continues to put pressure on our borders so we need to pay attention to meat products especially as a transmission vehicle.

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