26 February 2019 - African swine fever (ASF) is a viral disease of swine and wild boar characterized by a very high lethality rate for which there is no vaccine or treatment. The disease is now endemic in most countries of Sub-Saharan Africa and parts of Eastern Europe. On 1 August 2018, the first detection of ASF was reported from a pig farm in China and the disease has since spread throughout the whole country. Two of the outbreaks, one in domestic pigs and another one in wild boar, were reported very close to the border with DPRK, raising the alert of the country and the need for an urgent mission to provide advice and support the country’s preparedness.
The mission was conducted by an ASF expert. In addition to meetings and discussions with the veterinary services, a 1-day training on ASF to around 45 field and central veterinarians. Presentations covered: 1) Introduction to ASF; 2) ASF clinical presentation; 3) ASF Global situation; 4) Reacting to a suspected ASF outbreak; and 5) ASF prevention and control. There was also a practical group exercise, where participants were presented with three scenarios, divided into groups, and asked to discuss and present the first actions taken in the event upon an ASF suspicion and confirmation.
For the control of ASF globally, it is critical to prevent the entry of the virus mostly through smuggling and in passengers’ personal luggage. Similarly, it is critical to increase the level of awareness on the disease of field veterinarians and all actors along the pig value chain. To prevent ASF introduction into pig farms, the issues of swill feeding and free-range pigs should be prioritize. Finally, in countries where there is a wild boar population, a surveillance aiming to find dead wild boar through an increased cooperation with hunters is a must.
ASF outbreak map