SHIC Funded Review Looks at African Swine Fever Virus Variants

Farmscape for April 22, 2021

Full Interview 10:35 Listen

The Executive Director of the Swine Health Information Center is encouraging pork producers to question every mortality on the farm and to have each one investigated in an effort to prevent any incursion of African Swine Fever into North America. A Swine Health Information Center funded review of African Swine Fever virus variants emerging in China and reports of non-approved vaccine use causing pathology, chronic infection and vaccine virus shedding, was conducted by Dr. Dan Rock at the University of Illinois, to look at changes in the virus and our ability to detect the virus should it get to North America. Swine Health Information Center Executive Director Dr. Paul Sundberg says how mutations of the African Swine Fever virus genome, such as those that could be used in unapproved vaccines, change the level of risk in North America is difficult to quantify but they are cause for stepped up vigilance.

Clip-Dr. Paul Sundberg-Swine Health Information Center:
Our biggest opportunity to prevent a problem is to do everything we can to question the health status of our herds when something looks out of line. African Swine Fever and these different variants and the original virus can look very much like salmonellosis, it can look very much like hot PRRS or other things that we deal with as endemic disease in North America. If that’s the case, the most important thing to do is not assume that you think you know you have something when you have a disease event or a mortality event in your herd.
Always get professional diagnosis.

Even if it’s one mortality and you think that looks just like it was before, question that and get a professional diagnosis because you don’t know if that may be the first incursion of an ASF original or a variant virus in North America.

Dr. Sundberg says the good news is that the diagnostics we currently have available to detect ASF still should be effective in finding and identifying the virus should it get here, even if it is a variant.

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