Everything You Need To Know About African Swine Fever

As the threat of African Swine Fever (ASF) increases globally, understanding the disease is essential for farmers and businesses, so they can protect their livelihoods and prevent the spread of this deadly disease.

What Is ASF?

ASF is a highly contagious haemorrhagic viral disease, and it is caused by a large DNA virus of the Asfarviridae family, that is seen amongst both domestic and wild pigs. The disease causes pigs to have extremely high temperatures of up to 41⁰C/105.8°F. Other symptoms include a loss of appetite, lethargy and visibly blotchy skin. Whilst it does not affect humans, its effects cause catastrophic consequences for pork production industries and is responsible for serious economic and production losses.

Although the clinical signs of ASF and Classical Swine Fever (CSF) may appear to be similar, the ASF virus is unrelated to the CSF virus.

ASF is a disease listed in the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) Terrestrial Animal Health Code and must be reported to the OIE.

Currently there is no effective vaccine or treatment against it.

How Is It Spread?

This Transboundary Animal Disease (TAD) can be spread by live or dead pigs, domestic or wild, and pork products.

Transmission can also occur via contaminated feed and fomites (non-living objects) such as shoes, clothes, vehicles, knives, equipment etc., due to the high environmental resistance of the ASF virus.

How Can It Be Prevented?

Biosecurity is key in the prevention and protection against ASF.

Implementing the highest standards of biosecurity and practices amongst those working at a farm or pork production facility will help prevent the spread of ASF on your site.

Prevention in countries free from the disease can be dependent on governmental policies and biosecurity measures, however ensuring that neither infected live pigs nor pork products are introduced into areas free of ASF is paramount.

During outbreaks and in countries where the disease is present, control of ASF can be much more difficult and measures must be adapted to the specific situation.

After decades of service, providing governmental bodies around the globe assistance during outbreaks of ASF, the Waste Spectrum team suggest the implementation of the following bio-security measures.

  1. We recommend initiating a three-day-clear rule; meaning no one can enter your site if they have been in contact with swine, pig by-products or a pig site in the last three days.
  2. If you are satisfied visitors to your site are safe, it is good practice to provide alternative protective clothing to reduce any potential risk of them bringing contaminants on to your site. Precautions such as a disposable boilersuit and alternative washable footwear are very effective. It is also recommended to have a disinfectant station for vehicles prior to them entering your site. A holding area where the visitor can spray disinfectant on the wheels and other exposed areas of the vehicle before entering and parking. Once parked, providing an area for them to put on their Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). This may include overalls, rubber boots, gloves, and a mask. Providing a changing booth for this is useful, also a hand-wash basin with the appropriate skin-safe chemicals.
  3. As this is a disease commonly spread by wild swine populations, it is advisable to ensure perimeter fencing is in good condition and that repairs to damaged fencing are done immediately when spotted. It is also a good idea to ensure tools and equipment as-well as processing or ‘communal’ areas are disinfected after use.
  4. In severe outbreaks, where there are confirmed cases and numerous deaths amongst animals, the proper and safe disposal of carcasses and waste is vital. It is extremely important to ensure that carcasses are disposed of efficiently and in a timely manner. It is widely accepted that incineration is the most suitable for ensuring this. With a Waste Spectrum incinerator, you can safely and quickly dispose of waste, diseased or otherwise.

By incinerating your deceased pigs, you have full traceability and ensure maximum biosecurity. Preventing a collection vehicle from attending your site will dramatically decrease the risk to your business. With the right Waste Spectrum incinerator, you will be empowered to dispose of waste on-site, with no delay and no need to store carcasses.

At Waste Spectrum we have the widest range of incinerators available on the market and our range is designed to provide solutions to meet the very specific needs of the pig farming and pork production industries.

Contact us today to receive expert advice and guidance from our dedicated team, and to find a solution that suits you, your needs, and your business.