Scientists want to understand the likelihood of diseases entering North America through feed
Swine Health Information Center (SHIC) researchers are analyzing the possibility of a foreign animal disease entering North America in feed.
Viruses can survive in feed throughout transport, but the level of risk of this possibility remains unknown, Dr. Paul Sundberg, SHIC executive director, said in a Farmscape article
So “we're doing some research with Kansas State University and looking at oral dose of African swine fever (ASF) and the ability of that virus to infect pigs orally,” he said in the article.
ASF, foot-and-mouth Disease (FMD), and Classical swine fever (CSF) are the three foreign animal diseases that “pose the greatest risk to the North American pork sector,” the article said.
“If those viruses could be imported through feed, they have to get to the pens, and (scientists are) going to be looking at ways to demonstrate the transmission of viruses from feed to pigs through that chain,” Sundberg said.
The researchers are not working directly with ASF, FMD and CSF. Rather, “we're looking at some other viruses that we could use as models to show that that chain could be open,” he added.
It is important to understand the potential pathways ASF or other foreign animal diseases might follow into the U.S., Sundberg told Farms.com today.
“After our experience with PED, a feed pathway was further investigated,” he said. “Research showed that feed is a theoretical pathway. We need to find out more if it is a risk but, while doing that, we need to do what we can to make sure we prevent it from becoming one.
“We don’t want to discover it is a viable pathway after we break with a foreign animal disease,” he added.
The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) recently revamped its protections to prevent ASF from entering the country, a USDA ASF factsheet
- “Collaborating with states, industry and producers to ensure everyone follows on-farm biosecurity and best practices (including for garbage feeding in states where that is allowed).
- “Restricting imports of pork and pork products from affected countries.
- “Working with CBP staff at ports of entry to increase passenger and baggage screening for prohibited products from affected countries.”
The USDA reminds producers, industry members, veterinarians and international travelers to be committed to preventing ASF from entering the country.
Updated Feb. 13, 2019
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