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Protect your bacon - ASF biosecurity alert

Protect your bacon - ASF biosecurity alert

African Swine Fever (ASF) is a highly contagious viral disease of domestic and wild pigs. ASF has never occurred in Australia, however it has established itself in Asia and continues to spread closer to our shores.

ASF has a pig mortality rate of nearly 100 per cent and there is no vaccine available, as such, it is the current most pressing disease threat to our livestock sector.

Consumption of contaminated food by pigs is considered the biggest risk of the disease entering Australia. Contaminated food, such as pork from an ASF-affected country, could enter Australia illegally in luggage or via the post.

To combat this threat, border controls have been tightened. Recent testing of seized pork products at our borders showed nearly 50 per cent of them to be infected with ASF. In comparison to rates of around 15 per cent only 9 months ago.

Pork or pork products from countries known to be affected by ASF is not imported into our country, however there is always a risk that something is imported before detection is made or it crosses the border illegally.

ASF can survive extreme temperatures and persist in meat products, including those that have been cooked, for months at a time. Australia has a ban on feeding meat, anything that has come into contact with meat, and other animal products to pigs. This practice is known as swill feeding.

Local Land Services continues to audit pig owners to ensure they are aware of what they can and can’t feed their pigs. We are also inspecting high-risk waste management centres and tips to ensure that feral pigs do not have access to potentially contaminated waste foods.

Signs to look out for in your pigs include fever, blotching of the skin, incoordination, diarrhoea, vomiting, and pneumonia. If you suspect ASF, reporting it immediately to the emergency animal disease watch hotline 1800 675 888.

Contact your local biosecurity officer for more information.

Swill feeding and ASF