Office of the State Veterinarian
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Office of the State Veterinarian

July 29, 2021 | Contact: State Veterinarians Office (360) 902-1878

USDA Confirms African Swine Fever in the Dominican Republic

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Foreign Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory has confirmed African swine fever (ASF) in samples collected from pigs in the Dominican Republic through an existing cooperative surveillance program.

USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) has numerous interlocking safeguards in place to prevent ASF from entering the United States. Pork and pork products from the Dominican Republic are currently prohibited entry as a result of existing classical swine fever restrictions. Additionally, the Department of Homeland Security’s Customs and Border Protection (CBP) is increasing inspections of flights from the Dominican Republic to ensure travelers do not bring prohibited products to the United States. CBP will also be ensuring that garbage from these airplanes are properly disposed of to prevent the transmission of ASF.

USDA is committed to assisting the Dominican Republic in dealing with ASF, is offering continued testing support, and will consult with them on additional steps or actions to support response and mitigation measures. We will also offer similar help to Haiti, which borders the Dominican Republic and is at high risk for ASF detections.

The USDA continues to work diligently with partners including CBP and the U.S. swine industry to prevent ASF from entering the United States. ASF is not a threat to human health, cannot be transmitted from pigs to humans and it is not a food safety issue.

Employ Biosecurity to Prevent African Swine Fever

The Washington State Department of Agriculture is monitoring the global African Swine Fever situation closely with the recent announcement of ASF in the Dominican Republic. African swine fever is a highly contagious and deadly viral disease affecting both domestic and feral swine of all ages. ASF is not a threat to human health and cannot be transmitted from pigs to humans. It is not a food safety issue.

This is the first case of ASF in the Western Hemisphere in recent history. Additional outbreaks across Asia and Europe pose an additional threat to the US pork industry. ASF is found in countries around the world, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa. More recently, it has spread through China, Mongolia and Vietnam, as well as within parts of the European Union. While this disease in not currently present in the United States nor has it ever been diagnosed here, it serves as a reminder that we live in a global economy and disease threats are ever present.

Strong biosecurity represents the best chance for protecting swine operations and the US swine industry. All livestock owners should employ strict biosecurity measures and if you “see something, say something”.

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