African Swine Fever (ASF) arrived in China, the world’s largest pig market and has been spreading rapidly across countries, provinces, towns and counties of Asia. Now what to do in practice when the virus pops up? This is part one of a checklist for pig producers and veterinarians the first 9 of the 18 steps.
Never before in history, has African Swine Fever virus (ASFv) had the opportunity it is having right now. Up until recently, the virus was spreading slowly through different pig populations. What happened in 2018, however, was completely new. The virus moved thousands of kilometres and infected thousands of animals in a very short period of time. In addition, environmental conditions changed as the presence of the virus in the environment is likely to be much higher. Still, the mechanism to control the infection, to avoid it spreading and to manage the farm after an outbreak remains the same. It is just a matter of applying all the measures more vigorously.
The aim of this article is therefore to help vets and producers to do so, once confronted with an ASF infection. It contains a summary of 18 steps that can be followed, either to control the spread of the disease on-farm once it is infected or to prevent the virus entering onto other farm sites. In addition, the article provides information about the best way to repopulate a farm.
This paper is based on the experience of controlling ASF in large pig production systems and also the knowledge acquired after travelling to China on various occasions trying to answer questions from colleagues and producers. It’s therefore good to keep in mind that some recommendations might vary under different circumstances or scenarios.
In short, the article revolves around two questions: What to do when facing an ASF outbreak? And what is the best protocol to follow starting a proper repopulation?
In the case of ASF, acting fast is crucial, so detection, quick actions and removal of the source of infection are imperative to avoid further viral spread within the production system. It is recommended that pig movements involving the affected site are traced back for 15 days. Moreover, farms that had any epidemiological link (pigs and/or trucks) with the affected site should be placed under a strict quarantine and testing must be done to rule out ASF infection.
Live-haul trucks that have been involved in the latest pig movements from the affected site should be sent for a complete and thorough washing and disinfection immediately and allow time for disinfectant contact and drying.
In order to contain the spread of the virus in a systematic way, 3 areas or perimeters around the affected site should be defined. Clear definitions between all stakeholders about distances and perimeters is essential.
ASFv is a complex ‘DNA enveloped’ virus and is resistant to the environment. It is possible to create a bad environment to reduce its survival capacity. For a disinfectant to be fully effective, it is critical to…
All materials used for the pig elimination have to be disinfected, as well as the farm facilities. Those materials that cannot properly be disinfected should be burnt with the pig carcasses as they are a potential danger. Farms with multiple rooms should start disinfecting from the most affected part and work their way outwards.