Indiana producers need to safeguard herds against African swine fever

There have been numerous reports of African swine fever (ASF) spreading in pigs throughout Asia and Europe, and now Hoosier farmers need to put the virus on their radar.

According to Greg Slipher, Indiana Farm Bureau’s livestock development specialist, the ASF virus is highly contagious and usually fatal to the pigs affected. Common symptoms include high fever, decreased appetite, weakness, vomiting and difficulty breathing, he said. Once the signs are detected, the pigs typically die 7 to 10 days later.

Slipher noted that ASF does not pose any human health threat or food safety concerns. However, there is no vaccine available to treat the virus.

Indiana’s pork industry is susceptible to ASF due to the high volume of pigs moving in and out of state, he said.

“Indiana imports a lot of feed ingredients from China, and we have vast business relationships within the swine industry in China,” Slipher said. “Our producers also are vulnerable since they host trade teams from around the world, and the virus is easily transmitted on clothing and feedstuffs.”

In early September, the Indiana State Board of Animal Health (BOAH) and Indiana Pork hosted a webinar to discuss the potential for an ASF outbreak in the United States. The meeting also covered steps to prepare for such a situation. One thing all livestock producers can do is register their site on Indiana’s premises ID site.

“Having producers’ up-to-date contact information is required by state law and critical in the event of a disease outbreak,” said Slipher. “If the BOAH has the correct information, they become much more effective in containing diseases that affect our livestock.”

Visit the Board of Animal Health’s premise ID site to register your farm’s contact information.