In addition to prevention work at home, Canadian experts are helping to address the disease in the Dominican Republic and Haiti
By Jackie Clark
Swine industry experts recently identified African swine fever (ASF) in Haiti. Canadian officials are continuing to work to keep the disease out of the mainland of North America.
“As soon as the detection in the Dominican Republic was confirmed, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) quickly worked with the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) to strengthen the appropriate border controls for the Caribbean as a whole,” a CFIA spokesperson told Farms.com.
“This includes enhanced screening of travelers and mail originating from the Caribbean region by CBSA border services officers and detector dog teams,” they explained.
“The CFIA added the Dominican Republic and Haiti to its list of countries of concern for ASF in relation to plant-based feed imports, meaning that any livestock feed ingredient imported from those countries would need to meet all the required conditions,” the CFIA spokesperson added.
The most likely vector of transfer from the Dominican Republic or Haiti to Canada would be illegal or undeclared pork products brought into the country by mail or travelers, CFIA reported.
“To address these risks, the CFIA immediately put in place mitigation measures to reduce the likelihood of introduction, including communicating with travelers through public awareness campaigns and outreach and increasing oversight of international mail originating from the Caribbean region,” the organization said.
Canada has established ASF zoning agreements with the U.S., EU and Singapore that would allow some continuity of trade from unaffected regions in the event of an outbreak.
“In addition to this, zoning arrangements continue to be pursued with other trading partners where Canada exports its pork and pork products,” said the CFIA. “Zoning arrangements are a critical component to helping reduce the impact of trade restrictions should ASF be detected in Canada.”
Canada’s officials continue to work in cooperation with all stakeholders and other countries on ASF prevention and preparedness. The ASF Executive Management Board (EMB) oversees the implementation of the ASF Pan-Canadian Framework for Action.
“In 2021-2022, the EMB is focusing on key priorities including the development of a national exercise, wild pig management, biosecurity, readiness and recovery and support programming, as well as continuing to raise awareness of the risks of introducing ASF into Canada through public awareness campaigns and outreach to the public and other stakeholders,” explained the CFIA.
“The CFIA meets regularly with the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service for information exchange and regular updates on the ASF situation in the Americas,” they added.
“The CFIA is also working closely with counterparts in the U.S. to provide the ASF diagnostic support needed in the Dominican Republic and Haiti. Canada actively participates in the Regional Steering Committee of the Global Framework for the Progressive Control of Transboundary Animal Diseases, presided by Dr. Jaspinder Komal, vice president of CFIA’s Science Branch. The RSC formed an emergency committee to deal with the ASF situation in the Dominican Republic to provide coordinated support, prevent the spread of the disease and evaluate the preparedness situation in the Americas for ASF.”
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