As African Swine Fever threatens the swine industry, Oklahoma stays on the forefront preparing for potential outbreak in the United States.
While ASF has never been detected in the U.S. and prevention is the ultimate goal, the OK Department of Agriculture, Food and Forestry, OK Pork Council, swine industry veterinarians and managers, and other supporting State Agencies are working to formulate a plan to be prepared if an outbreak is detected.
“ASF is a highly contagious and deadly viral disease affecting both domestic and wild pigs of all ages,” said Dr. Rod Hall, Oklahoma State Veterinarian. “However, is not a threat to human health, is not a food safety issue and cannot be transmitted from pigs to humans.”
Dr. Hall says this is a deadly disease that would have a significant impact to livestock producers, their communities and the economy if it makes its way to the U.S. There is no treatment or vaccine available for this disease.
Thus far, Oklahoma has participated in a series of national exercises designed by USDA-APHIS Veterinary Services to identify weaknesses in our ASF response plan: ASF Response Policy Workshop, November 2018; ASF Plan Review and Revision Workshop, February 2019; and an ASF Response Tabletop Exercise, April 2019. These three exercises have set the stage for the fourth exercise activity, a series of functional exercises and drills to be conducted between Sept. 23 and Sept. 26, 2019.
Additionally, Oklahoma is part of a four-state group, including Texas, Kansas, and Colorado, that share many of the same commercial swine companies. This group of state animal health officials, USDA personnel, representatives of the commercial swine companies and other industry personnel have met twice to discuss the importance of the four-state region operating as a unit, rather than individual states working alone because the companies operate across state lines in several states.
To ensure proper preparation for a possible ASF disease occurrence, ODAFF will continue tabletop exercise trainings, refining emergency response plans and practice transparent communication with swine industry stakeholders.
To learn more about ASF, visit USDA-APHIS’s website at aphis.usda.gov under the animal health tab.