The threat level of African Swine Fever (ASF) in North America is very high. As a consequence, there are continued strenuous efforts across the industry, academia and the government to prevent the entry of ASF. One of them is a new model.
Dr Gustavo Machado of North Carolina State University, the leading scientist behind modelling of ASF spread, and his team presented their model called PigSpread during the Western Canadian Association of Swine Veterinarians on October 19 and 20. They used the model look at how a potential ASF outbreak in the southeastern US could lead to further outbreaks. A presentation on the threat of ASF and other foreign diseases kicked off the conference.
PigSpread was also discussed at the American African Swine Fever Forum hosted in late August by the US Department of Agriculture (USDA).
From October 2-6, the USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) hosted its third annual “ASF Action Week.” It is intended to raise awareness about among large swine producers and pet pig owners about the need for vigilance of symptoms in their pigs that could indicate ASF. All week, APHIS is posting updates and reminders on X, Facebook and its dedicated new Protect Our Pigs website.
To attract attention to the issue, APHIS also held an ‘I Protect Pigs’ photo contest. The agency also offers a colouring book and badges for youngsters, but also a myriad of resources for producers from toolkits, posters and graphics to articles, videos and technical documents in several languages.
Also, in September, about 300 US pig producers, veterinarians and others attended the third meeting of the US Swine Health Improvement Plan (US SHIP). They discussed and approved programme standards and resolutions that further clarify and define the requirements of a national certification program for safeguarding and protecting swine health.
US SHIP is endorsed by the National Pork Board, National Pork Producers Council, American Association of Swine Veterinarians, US Animal Health Association and other organisations. US SHIP is on an expedited path towards becoming an official USDA programme by 2024.
Pig operations were able to start enrolling in US SHIP through state agencies in March 2022. Certificates can be held by all types of producers (large, small, exhibition) and packers. Standards can be found here. In addition to compliance with requirements, participants must also complete the US SHIP Biosecurity Enrollment Survey. As of October 12, 2022, 44% of the US sow herd and 38% of growing pigs across 31 states had enrolled.
At the recent US SHIP meeting, senior programme coordinator Dr Tyler Holck announced that enrolment has exceeded 68% of the US breeding pig herd and 61% of the US growing pig herd.