Canada steps up efforts to prevent African swine fever

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(NC) African swine fever (ASF) is a highly infectious and deadly disease that infects pigs. It doesn’t infect humans, doesn’t make pork unsafe to eat and has never been found in Canada. But an outbreak would be incredibly serious for Canada’s pigs, farmers and economy. Are there ways to keep safe?

There are no approved vaccines for ASF, and it’s incurable. That means the only option is to prevent it from spreading. There are several measures Canada has put in place to stop it.

If you’re a farmer: Practice strong biosecurity. Biosecurity is all of the barriers you put up to block the spread of disease. Only buy pigs from trustworthy farms also practicing biosecurity, and quarantine new pigs for at least 10 days. Clean and disinfect all clothing, equipment and vehicles entering or leaving your farm. Use more than one layer of fencing to prevent contact between your herd and wild pigs.

If you’re a hunter: Wild pigs can catch and transmit ASF, and their range is always expanding. Never leave offal from a kill out in the woods, and always dispose of remains properly. If you find a wild pig carcass, always report it. If you visit a farm or any facility or home with pigs, never do so in the same clothes you hunt in. ASF can survive for months in contaminated blood on clothing.

If you’re travelling or know someone who is: Never bring pork or pork products into Canada. Even curing pork – to make ham, pancetta or prosciutto, for example – doesn’t kill ASF. The disease has spread in multiple countries, so any outside pork products are suspect. If friends or family want to send you care packages, remind them not to send any pork products. If you’re arriving back in Canada after a trip, remember to declare all animal and food products.

ASF is a serious issue facing Canada’s farmers. Working together can help keep it away from our herds and economy.

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