Border biosecurity increases to prevent the spread of disease into North America
The United States is taking preventative measures to stop African Swine Fever (ASF) from crossing its borders.
With the spread of ASF in China and new reports of the disease in Belgium, concerns that the disease could enter the US from an affected Chinese province are present, a Farmscape article
The Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea (PED) virus that entered North America in 2013 initially came from a province in China. Worries that a similar intrusion could occur again are being taken into consideration, said Dr. Paul Sundberg, executive director of the Swine Health Information Centre.
The American Association of Swine Veterinarians, the National Pork Producers Council, the National Pork Board, and the Swine Health Information Centre are working with the USDA to develop ways to heighten border security, said Sundberg.
One strategy is increasing inspections of people entering the U.S., he said.
“We're also asking for (the) USDA to help increase the inspections of any swill feeding, any food waste feeding that is going on with pigs around the country, increase those inspections of licensed feeders and increase the enforcement of the regulations for those that aren't licensed,” Sundberg said to Farmscape.
Looking at customs and border control is another strategy, said Liz Wagstrom, chief veterinarian for the National Pork Producers Council.
"We've done several things in the United States... (we're looking) at customs and border control and asking them to specifically target flights and ships coming in from ASF positive countries," she told Farms.com today.
"As an industry... we're encouraging our producers to talk with their feed manufacturers and suppliers to understand what they're getting from where and understand the process under which the feed was manufactured."
An outbreak of ASF in the U.S. would remove its producers from the international trade market. The cost of isolating and eliminating the disease would add up to billions of dollars over the next decade, Sundberg said.
“What we're trying to do is look at all of the possible inputs and pathways that the virus could gain entry into the country and harden those systems as best as possible,” said Sundberg.
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