African Swine Fever
Keeping African Swine Fever out of New Zealand
The NZPHA is working with NZ Pork and Biosecurity New Zealand and the NZ Government Industry Agreement for Biosecurity Readiness and Response to raise awareness of NZ pig hunters of the risk of introducing and spreading the disease, African Swine Fever.
What is African Swine fever?
African swine fever (ASF) is a highly contagious viral haemorrhagic disease of wild and domestic pigs. It is a World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) listed disease and outbreaks must be reported to the OIE. The disease is exotic to New Zealand and has never occurred here. ASF is a viral disease that only infects pigs, not people. Aside from pigs, no other livestock, wildlife or pets are affected by ASF. It is not a public health threat nor a food safety concern, however if the disease get into New Zealand and into our wild pig population it will have dire consequences for pig hunting so all pig hunters need to be vigilant in the interests of pig hunting throughout the country.
Where is ASF spreading to?
There is currently a major global pandemic of ASF. The outbreak is causing mass mortality of pigs, both from deaths and culling due to disease. The outbreak started in Georgia in 2007 and spread to Belarus, Russian Federation and Ukraine. ASF spread to the European Union in 2014 (initially Poland, Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia) with the most recent report in Greece. In 2018, China reported its first outbreak of ASF and since then the virus has spread through China and has been confirmed throughout Asia including Cambodia, North Korea, South Korea, Laos, Mongolia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Timor-Leste, Vietnam and Indonesia (OIE 2019a). ASF was also confirmed in Papua New Guinea on 25 March 2020.
How could ASF get into Wild pigs in New Zealand
The most likely pathway for ASF is the importation of infected meat (60% of pork consumed in NZ is imported.) Biosecurity NZ implements stringent pre-border and border risk mitigation measures to prevent the introduction of ASF.
Should ASF get to New Zealand the key pathway for ASF to get into our wild pig population is from infected meat getting into the lifestyle or para-commercial pig farming through the feeding of uncooked food scraps, a practise that is banned but still can occur when hobby farmers are unaware of the risks. This then is passed to the wild pig population. Another risk is from illegal transportation and release of pigs into the wild. If an infection of ASF gets out into the wild pig population then because wild pigs can cover long distances the problem of containment worsens.
So what can you do to help prevent an outbreak occurring.
If you are able to travel overseas - particularly to places where ASF is present - be certain you have not come into contact with ASF or sick pigs and stay away from healthy pigs for at least 5 days after travelling. Biosecurity NZ has Import Health Standards to manage the international trade in pork and pork products, including personal consignments and also used equipment associated with animals. It is also against the law to feed pigs untreated meat or untreated waste food that may have come into contact with meat. Food waste must be heated to 100C for one hour. This has special significance to those who collect food waste from Hotels, pubs, fast food stores, supermarkets etc.
Keep vigilant when out pig hunting.
Signs of ASF often include high fever, decreased appetite, weakness and general lethargy. Skin may be reddened, blotchy or have blackened lesions.
Infected pigs may also have diarrhoea, vomiting, coughing and difficulty breathing. Abortions can occur in pregnant sows. Death usually occurs 7 - 10 days after a pig becomes infected however sudden death is also possible.
If you detect a pig with these symptoms or come across any ill or diseased pig, Don't delay, contact your local veterinarian or the MPI Exotic Pest and Disease hotline on 0800 80 99 66. MPI have 5 active response agents on call, ready to investigate.
For further information including maps on African Swine Fever then go to these websites