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USDA confident in ASF surveillance

The head of USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, Dr. Jack Shere, says the U.S. is in a strong position to prevent ASF in U.S. swine.

“While we’re keenly aware of the risks that ASF poses to us because of the recent detections in the Dominican Republic, we’re also confident in our safeguards and what we’ve been doing these many years to keep it out of the United States.”

Shere says the ongoing surveillance of African Swine Fever is not new –  the USDA was monitoring ASF before it spread in Africa to Italy where it was endemic back in 2006.

As the U.S. works to keep African Swine Fever outside its borders, the spread continues overseas.

Dr. Sherrilyn Wainwright, veterinary epidemiologist, with APHIS, says challenges from illegally produced vaccines in China have led to illicit strains in pigs there.

“So you have that spreading as well as the regular African Swine Fever virus and low reporting. Currently, low reporting of any African Swine Fever Detections, officially, in the country.”

Unless it’s known exactly where the virus is, she says it’s impossible to contain it. Wainwright says it’ll take at least five years before ASF is out of the pig population in Germany.

APHIS officials shared the latest on the virus during their online ASF Action Week this week.

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