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Governments coordinate against swine fever

North American agriculture leaders are coordinating plans to keep swine safe from a deadly disease in China and Europe.
Dr. Jack Shere, chief veterinary officer and deputy administrator for Veterinary Services in the U.S. Department of Agriculture Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, delivered a joint statement on behalf of leaders in the U.S., Canada, and Mexico that they were responding to the threat of African swine fever with more biosecurity, agreements to minimize damage to trade if the disease reaches North America, and public education about the potential harm from the disease. The statement followed a forum April 30-May 1 in Ottawa, Ontario, attended by representatives from 15 countries.
Canadian Food Inspection Agency officials provided a one-page concept paper that described the intent of the meeting and later published a one-page framework but did not respond to requests for details on the actions to be taken by governments or industry. The documents are available at the CFIA's African Swine Fever Forum.
Dr. Jaspinder Komal, chief veterinary officer for the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) and vice president of the Science Branch of the CFIA, said during a Q&A session after the joint statement that attendees would work within their countries to develop specific measures they could take.
APHIS officials announced later in May plans to add ASF testing to existing surveillance for classical swine fever, which involves testing specimens from sick or dead pigs as well as those considered at risk from feral swine or garbage feeding.
The countries also will work to reduce trade effects during an ASF outbreak, Dr. Shere said. He and Dr. Komal indicated that efforts will involve establishing zones or regions that could be declared free of disease and unaffected by trade limits.
Dr. Shere also said during the Q&A session that the U.S. has a large feral hog population and USDA Wildlife Services will report to the veterinary branch if it sees large numbers of feral hog deaths. But the U.S. has no plans to test captured or hunter-killed hogs, he said.
Source : AVMA

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