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USDA Enhances ASF Surveillance Efforts

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

(North American Meat Institute)

USDA announced the implementation of a surveillance plan to enhance its overall African Swine Fever (ASF) preparation efforts. As part of this plan, the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) will work with the swine industry, states and veterinary diagnostic laboratories to test for ASF. USDA will add ASF testing to the existing classical swine fever surveillance, and test samples from the same high-risk animals, using the same overall process, but will test for both diseases instead of one.

"African Swine Fever is an area of high interest among the veterinary community and our swine industry, and we continue to take action to prepare for this deadly disease," said Greg Ibach, Undersecretary for Marketing and Regulatory Programs. "While we are confident that our overlapping safeguards will continue to keep ASF out of the United States, an enhanced surveillance program will serve as an early warning system, helping us find any potential disease much more quickly. It will also minimize virus spread and support efforts to restore trade markets and animal movements as quickly as possible should the disease be detected."

The surveillance effort will test samples from high-risk animals, including sick pig submissions to veterinary diagnostic laboratories; sick or dead pigs at slaughter; and pigs from herds that are at greater risk for disease through such factors as exposure to feral swine or garbage feeding. In addition, USDA will work with state and federal partners to identify and investigate incidents involving sick or dead feral swine to determine if they should be tested for ASF or other foreign animal diseases. USDA and its partners expect to begin ASF surveillance efforts within weeks, and will implement the full surveillance plan over the course of the spring.

Contact Director of Regulatory and Scientific Affairs Tiffany Lee, tlee@meatinstitute.org, 202-587-4248, with any questions.

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