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African Swine Fever – clinical signs, pathology and situation update

The Pirbright Institute and APHA have compiled images with captions to illustrate the clinical signs and gross pathology of African swine fever (ASF) to assist pig keepers and veterinarians in the recognition of disease due to ASF in pigs:

http://apha.defra.gov.uk/documents/surveillance/diseases/african-swine-fever-images.pdf

The images are based on disease due to a virulent ASF virus strain like the virus which has been spreading in Eastern and Central Europe. The most recent ASF update for that region has just been published by the International Disease Monitoring Team. This describes how ASF is continuing in Eastern Europe, and has been reported in new regions in Romania and Hungary. There has been a rise in cases in non-commercial backyard pig farms. This increase could be indicative of the seasonality of raising pigs for the Christmas season and this effect been noted in Russia in previous years.

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/720166/asf-europe-update15.pdf

ASF is a notifiable disease and any suspicion must be reported to APHA immediately:

https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/animal-and-plant-health-agency/about/access-and-opening

Further information on the disease and guidance on reporting suspect swine fever is also available on GOV.UK: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/african-swine-fever

The main risk for introduction of ASF into pigs in the UK is through feeding infected pork or wild boar meat or products from ASF affected areas. It is vital that pig keepers ensure that pigs, including those kept as pets, are never allowed access to catering waste of any description or domestic food waste; feeding such material is illegal.  The ASF virus can survive for months in smoked, dried and cured meats, and in frozen meat. Farm staff whose homes are in ASF-affected areas, and people returning to the UK from holidays or hunting expeditions could bring back infection if their clothing or footwear is contaminated. A poster for pig keepers is available to download to warn them of the risk and what they can do to reduce it:

http://apha.defra.gov.uk/documents/surveillance/diseases/african-swine-fever-poster.pdf

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