Escritório Regional da FAO para a América Latina e o Caribe

The countries of the Americas should be alert to the recent detection of African swine fever in the Dominican Republic

Disease does not pose any risk to human health, but it can generate high mortality among animals.

Disease does not pose any risk to human health.

August 2, 2021, Santiago, Chile - FAO alerted countries to take preventive measures in light of the recent detection of the first case of African swine fever in the Americas, discovered in domestic pigs in the Dominican Republic, on July 28, 2021.

The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations stated that African swine fever does not represent any risk to human health, neither through direct contact with infected animals, nor through the consumption of any animal product.

The disease is now found on every continent in the world; in Africa, Europe, Asia and the Pacific it already affects more than 50 countries, damaging their food security, the livelihoods that depend on the pig farming value chain, and also biodiversity, since the disease impacts wildlife.

With its high rate of animal mortality, the progressive spread and the endemic persistence of African swine fever, the disease could seriously affect pig production and the national and international trade of its products.

The case detected in the Dominican Republic was notified to the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) on July 29. This is the first confirmed case in the Western Hemisphere since the 1980s.

FAO called on countries to quickly activate and review their contingency or emergency response plans for African swine fever, to prevent or quickly control any outbreak, because there is a great risk that the disease could progressively spread to the rest of Latin America and the Caribbean.

Necessary measures

Considering the outbreak in the Dominican Republic, the countries of the region are strongly recommended to:

• Strengthen border controls to prevent the movement of pigs and pork products.

• Increase the control of personal belongings of travelers returning from the Dominican Republic. These travelers should not be allowed to visit farms or forests.

• Strengthen biosecurity measures in pig farms.

• In the event of a suspected case, all pigs on a farm should be confined to their pens or confined in other premises where it is possible to isolate them;

• Feeding with leftovers should be discouraged.

• Increase surveillance, specifically the notification and testing of sick or dead pigs, including feral and free pigs.

• Strengthen awareness and communication of risks on African swine fever to producers, veterinarians, hunters, slaughterhouse employees and other stakeholders in the production chain