Jamaica on high alert for African swine feverFriday, July 30, 2021
JAMAICA has been placed on high alert for African swine fever (AFS), following a United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) report of July 28, 2021 confirming the disease in samples collected from pigs in the Dominican Republic.
A release from the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries said the Veterinary Services Division will immediately heighten collaboration with the Jamaica Customs Agency, the Jamaica Defence Force Coast Guard, Passport Immigration, Citizenship Agency, pig farmers and all Jamaicans in order to minimise the risk of entry of the disease.
“African swine fever is a devastating, economically significant and highly contagious viral disease of domestic pigs (Sus scrofa domesticus) and feral swine (Sus scrofa ferus), causing high mortality approaching 100 per cent. While not known to affect humans, it is almost always fatal in pigs,” the release said.
It added: “The African swine fever virus is highly stable under extreme environmental conditions and is easily spread by infected swine, contaminated pork products and fomites and also via the soft tick (Ornithodoros) vector.”
Introduction of the virus into the country, said the release, may occur by way of importation of infected pork products and contamination of fomites such as feed, equipment, vehicles, and clothing.
Said the ministry: “The movement of contaminated pork products and swill-feeding of domestic swine are important epidemiological factors in the spread of ASF. Food waste from aeroplanes and ships have often been implicated in outbreaks of ASF, classical swine fever and other exotic diseases and pathogens.
“This new detection of ASF in the Americas has raised serious concerns about the continuing global spread of the disease, which has devastated China's pig population since the outbreaks in that country in 2018.“
The first detection of ASF in the Western Hemisphere was more than 40 years ago when ASF emerged in Brazil, Cuba and other parts of the region, with the last outbreaks in the Americas occurring between 1980 and 1984.
There is no treatment for ASF and there is no known vaccine available for its prevention and control. Control measures consist of strict animal quarantine and culling procedures.
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