FAO Regional Office for Latin America and the Caribbean

African swine fever

The African swine fever (ASF) is a serious viral disease that affects domestic and wild pigs. It has been found in more than 50 countries of Africa, Europe and Asia since 2007, and has just reappeared in the Americas.

Although it does not present a risk to human health, currently the ASF is the most serious threat to pig farming on the continent and in the world. Its rapid spread, high mortality and the lack of a vaccine puts at risk the livelihoods of small- and large-scale producers and impacts the market for pig products, thereby causing severe economic losses for the farms affected.

First case in the Americas

The first case of the African swine fever resurgence in the region was discovered in domestic pigs in the Dominican Republic on July 28, 2021.

This is the first confirmed case in the Western Hemisphere since the 1980s.

The disease is now found on every continent of the world. In Africa, Europe, Asia and the Pacific more than 50 countries have already been affected, harming their food security, livelihoods that depend on the pig value chain, and biodiversity, as the disease impacts wildlife.

With the high rate of animal mortality, the disease can strongly affect pig production and also national and international trade of its products.

Necessary measures in response to the outbreak in the Americas

Considering the resurgence in the Dominican Republic, it is recommended that countries of the region:

  • Strengthen border controls to prevent the movement of pigs and pig products.
  • Increase control of personal belongings from travellers returning from the Dominican Republic. These travellers should not be allowed to visit farms and forests.
  • Strengthen biosecurity measures on pig farms.
  • In the event of a suspected case, all pigs should be enclosed within their pens, or confined to other areas where it is possible to isolate them.
  • Feeding with leftovers should be discouraged.
  • Increase surveillance, specifically reporting and testing sick and dead pigs including those feral and free.
  • Strengthen sensitization and communication of the risks of the African swine fever to producers, veterinaries, hunters, abattoirs and other stakeholders in the production chain.

10 things that you should know about the African swine fever virus

  1. It is a deadly disease for pigs.
  2. It does not affect human beings.
  3. There is no vaccine.
  4. There is no treatment.
  5. It is transmitted by direct contact between sick and healthy animals.
  6. It could lead to sudden death.
  7. It can show signs of haemorrhaging in the skin and internal organs, fever and decay.
  8. Pigs also contract the disease if they consume meat contaminated by the virus.
  9. Secretions from diseased animals can contaminate belongings, tools, footwear etc.
  10. Human beings can carry the disease on their footwear, belongings etc.


  • African swine fever in wild boar
  • African swine fever detection and diagnosis – A manual for veterinarians
  • Carcass management for small and medium scale livestock farms

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Enfermedad de la Peste Porcina Africana (PPA)