The USDA has been targeting the illegal smuggling of pork from China, where there is an outbreak of African swine fever (ASF). It said the “highly contagious and deadly disease” could affect both domestic and feral (wild) pigs and there was no treatment or vaccine available for it.
USDA said it was also following topics on ASF Risk Pathways, biosecurity, signs and symptoms of ASF and tips for travellers.
USDA said it was monitoring the recent outbreaks of ASF in Asia and Europe, and was taking proactive steps to keep the disease out of the US.
It said it was working with US Customs and Border Protection at ports of entry, paying particular attention to cargo, passengers and products arriving from China and other ASF-affected countries. It was also increasing detector dog teams with US Customs and Border Protection to sniff out illegal products at key US commercial sea and airports.
USDA would also be collaborating with states, industry and producers to ensure strict on-farm biosecurity protocols were followed, it added, and it was also restricting imports from affected countries, working on response plans with the US pork industry and expanding testing capabilities.
US secretary of agriculture Sonny Perdue has also launched an initiative to share information about keeping ASF out of the US. USDA said it was vital for everyone to know about ASF and how to prevent it, while keeping the US pig population healthy.
The USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service has updated its web content, with additional information and links to partners’ resources, to provide information on the disease, which is available at www.aphis.usda.gov/animalhealth/swine/asf.