USDA confirms African Swine Fever in Dominican Republic

The USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service has confirmed African Swine Fever in the Dominican Republic. This is the first time ASF has been found in the western Hemisphere since the 1980s.

Indiana State Veterinarian Dr. Bret Marsh says “there were two provinces, two different farms in the Dominican Republic that were diagnosed with African Swine Fever and this is a result of a surveillance program that the USDA established in the Dominican Republic.”

That program was established in 2019 in collaboration between the USDA and the government of the Dominican Republic.

He says ASF was found in the Monte Cristi Province along the Haitian border and 100 miles away in the Sánchez Ramírez Province.

Marsh says the USDA has reached out to the Department of Homeland Security to ensure it increases inspections to keep out prohibited products from the U.S.

“To harden our borders, so to speak, and there have been inspections through Customs and Border Protection for meat products that are brought into the U.S. illegally,” he says.

He says inspections will be intensified for passengers coming from the Dominican Republic and Haiti.

The National Pork Producers Council Chief Veterinarian Dr. Liz Wagstrom says the enhanced measures are particularly important now that ASF has been detected in the western hemisphere for the first time in almost forty years.

NPPC says the U.S. remains free of ASF. Imports of pork and pork products into the U.S. from the Dominican Republic have been prohibited because of existing classical swine fever restrictions.

ASF is not a threat to human health and cannot be transmitted from pigs to humans and it is not a food safety issue. 

It was detected in China in 2018, and since then 15 other countries have reported cases.

Audio: Bret Marsh

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