The USDA’s Under Secretary for Marketing and Regulatory Programs, Greg Ibach, announced additional measures to control and eradicate African swine fever if the virus is ever detected in the U.S.
“First and foremost, USDA is committed to doing all it can to prevent ASF from entering the U.S. and we greatly appreciate the pork industry’s vigilance and partnership in this successful effort thus far,” said Under Secretary Ibach. “However, the additional measures I am announcing today will strengthen our ability to quickly and effectively respond to the disease if detected here at home.”
USDA is prepared to implement the following measures to help ensure an immediate and effective response if African swine fever is detected in the U.S.:
- The Secretary would immediately take necessary steps to declare an “extraordinary emergency” establishing USDA as the leader of a coordinated national approach to control and eradication, and ensuring the availability of funding and additional resources necessary for the response.
- USDA would issue a national standstill of at least 72 hours to prohibit all movement of swine increasing USDA’s ability to stop disease spread and to act quickly to restore movement on a regionalized basis.
- For the depopulation of infected and exposed animals, USDA would work with states and industry to utilize the most efficient and effective depopulation methods approved by the American Veterinary Medical Association that are appropriate for the affected premises.
- To prevent virus from leaving infected premises, USDA will work proactively with industry and states to ensure producers have herd plans to deal with carcass disposal in line with regional and local requirements, supporting composting and burial in place as preferred options.
- To reduce paperwork, USDA plans to pay for virus elimination at a uniform, flat rate, based on the size of affected premises.
- USDA researchers are developing vaccine candidates that show promise against ASF. Meanwhile, USDA will continue to work with industry and state partners to keep ASF out of the U.S.
“ASF is epidemiologically similar to foot-and-mouth disease and USDA’s system of overlapping safeguards and prevention efforts have been successful against that disease for over 90 years now,” said Ibach. “We remain confident those efforts will provide the same protections against ASF.”
“We are grateful to Secretary Perdue and Under Secretary Ibach for hearing the concerns of U.S. pork producers,” said David Herring, National Pork Producer Council president and a pork producer from Lillington, North Carolina. “We remain committed to working with the USDA and Customs and Border Protection to keep African swine fever out of the United States.”
It should be noted that ASF is a highly contagious and deadly viral disease affecting both domestic and feral pigs that has not been detected in the U.S. In addition, ASF does not affect human health and cannot be transmitted from pigs to humans.