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African Swine Fever and COVID-19 Novel Coronavirus are Not the Same

African Swine Fever and COVID-19 Novel Coronavirus are Not the Same
News today seems to change at the drop of a hat. If you hear 1 story, it seems that story has changed before the end of the day.
This past week, news changed by the hour regarding responses to the novel coronavirus, COVID-19. This novel virus originated in Wuhan China and has spread rapidly around the globe in recent weeks. The infection rate in China has reached over 80,000 individuals and is spreading around the globe. The spread of this infection has occurred so quickly that the World Health Organization deemed COVID-19 a pandemic this past week.
Over the past year, you have also likely heard of African Swine Fever. African Swine Fever, or ASF, is a disease that affects only pigs that hit China in August 2018 and devastated the pig population. U.S. Pig producers, animal agriculture regulators, and swine industry support members have been monitoring the situation and making pre-emptive plans and decisions to plan for a potential outbreak of ASF.
African Swine Fever is disease that only infects pigs, not people, and to date, there has not been a single case of African Swine Fever in the United States, Canada or Mexico.
The novel coronavirus, COVID-19, does infect humans, and as of March 13, 2020, there are over 1,600 cases of COVID-19 in the United States. That number is growing.
These two viruses are not the same in any way. To read more about the comparison of African Swine Fever and COVID-19, this article from Pork Business will help you better understand the differences between the viruses.
Here are a few key facts from that article.
 COVID-19African Swine Fever

Where was it discovered?

The first outbreak was discovered 2019, in humans in contact with wild animals sold at a wet market in the Chinese city of Wuhan.

The first outbreak was retrospectively recognized as having occurred in 1907 after ASF was first described in 1921 in Kenya.

How many people are affected?

7,818 infections and 170 deaths (as of 1.30.20)


How many pigs are affected?


Millions. It’s hard to get number of infections/culled, but there is no doubt the number is significant.

How does the virus spread?

This virus probably originally emerged from an animal source but now seems to be spreading from person-to-person. At this time, it’s unclear how easily or sustainably this virus is spreading between people.

It can be spread by live or dead pigs – domestic or wild – and pork products. Transmission can also occur via contaminated feed and fomites (non-living objects) such as shoes, clothes, vehicles, knives, equipment, etc., due to the high environmental resistance of the ASF virus. It can also be transmitted through soft ticks.

Does this virus affect humans?



Is the virus a public health threat?



Is the virus in the U.S.?

YES The first infection of COVID-19 was reported on January 21, 2020.

NO cases of African Swine Fever in pigs have been reported in the United States



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