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African Swine Fever

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African Swine Fever, Portugal, November 1999 Impact Worksheet

Summary: An outbreak of African Swine Fever in southern Portugal has been reported to the OIE. Passenger traffic, smuggled pork products, and legally imported pork products such as hog casings do represent a small amount of risk to the U.S. from this outbreak. However, the outbreak is currently localized to one farm. Portugal is a minor player on the international market in live swine and swine products, and the U.S. has imported no live swine or pig meat from Portugal during the past 21 months. Therefore, we conclude that the overall risk to the U.S. swine population due to this outbreak of ASF in Portugal is low to negligible at this time.


How extensive is the situation in the affected country and what was the country’s disease status prior to the outbreak?

On November 17, 1999, Portugal reported an outbreak of African swine fever (ASF) in the southern part of the country to the OIE. The estimated date of the start of the outbreak is November 5, 1999. One farm is affected, involving 44 swine. All of the swine on the farm have died or been destroyed. The USDA, APHIS recognizes Portugal free of ASF with the last reported case of ASF in Portugal in 1993.

Source: OIE Disease Information Report

What is the country’s place in the international market for affected animals and animal products?

Portugal is a minor player in the international market place for live swine and pig meat. In 1998, almost 6,000 live hogs were exported, valued at $838,000. This was 0.04% of world exports. Approximately 14,000 metric tons of pork were exported by Portugal in 1998 (0.2% of world exports), valued at almost $31 million. The majority of these pig meat exports were sausages. Regarding imports of live swine and meat, Portugal accounted for less than 2% of world imports in live animals or pig meat in 1998.

Source: United Nations FAO

What is the country’s production in affected animals and animal products?

In 1998, Portugal produced approximately 2.4 million head of swine, which is 0.25% of world production. Almost 5 million head of swine were slaughtered in Portugal in 1998 (0.5% of world slaughter), producing approximately 360,000 metric tons of meat (0.4% of world production). Provisional data for 1999 indicate similar production levels.

Source: United Nations FAO

What are the U.S. imports of affected animals or animal products from the country?

No live swine or swine meat was imported into the U.S. during the period from January 1998 through September 1999. There were 94,716 kg and 42,944 kg of hog sausage casings (code 0504000020) imported from Portugal during 1998 and Jan-Sept 1999, respectively. It should be noted that while the U.S. has recognized Portugal free of African swine fever, Portugal is not considered to be free of classical swine fever, which would limit imports of live swine or meat.

Source: World Trade Atlas, Code of Federal Regulations - part 9

What is the level of passenger traffic arriving in the United States from the affected country?

The U.S. Department of Transportation reported 153,553 passengers arrived in the U.S. on direct flights from Portugal in 1997. It is likely that additional passengers originating in Portugal came into the U.S. on non-direct flights.

Of the 249 passengers arriving from Portugal that were sampled as part of USDA, APHIS, PPQ’s Agricultural Quarantine Inspections (AQI) Monitoring Program in fiscal year 1998, 15 were carrying meat products which could include pork. A total of 5 kg of chorizo, 2 kg of sandwich meat, and 4 kg of sausage was found. The passengers carrying these products were destined for California, Connecticut, Florida, Illinois, and New Jersey. None reported that they were going to be working or visiting a farm or ranch while in the U.S.

Source: U.S. Dept. of Transportation, USDA, APHIS, PPQ - Agricultural Quarantine Inspections database

Are there any political/trade issues between the U.S. and this country?

Since Portugal is a member of the European Union, there are many trade issues with Portugal such as genetically modified organisms, hormone-free meat, etc. The U.S. does have a concern regarding Portugal’s laws on the protection of intellectual property for test data submitted when seeking marketing approval of certain products, including pharmaceuticals. (Note: CEI’s sources of political information are limited. There may be political/trade issues that CEI is unable to identify at this time.)

Source: U.S. Trade Representative, National Trade Estimate Report on Foreign Trade Barriers, 1999

CEI’s interpretation:

Travelers do pose a moderate risk for mechanical transmission of ASF virus due to the hardiness of the virus. The number of airline passengers arriving in the U.S. on direct flights from Portugal annually is approximately ten times the number of passengers arriving from individual African countries reporting ASF outbreaks recently (Botswana, Ghana). If all other risk factors for travelers is equivalent, this greater amount of passenger traffic indicates an increased risk to the U.S. via mechanical transmission from this outbreak in Portugal compared to recent outbreaks in Africa. In addition, the AQI Monitoring Program conducted by USDA, APHIS, PPQ found no passengers from Botswana or Ghana to be carrying pork products, while passengers from Portugal were found to be carrying meat products which could include pork. This may indicate an increased risk from smuggled pork products from Portugal compared to African countries.

There were a total of almost 140,000 kg of hog sausage casings imported from Portugal during the time period of January 1998 through September 1999. However, if treatment of the casings is performed properly, they pose a negligible transmission risk for ASF.

Passenger traffic, smuggled pork products, and legally imported pork products such as hog casings do represent a small amount of risk to the U.S. from this outbreak. However, the outbreak is currently localized to one farm. Portugal is a minor player on the international market in live swine and swine products, and the U.S. has imported no live swine or pig meat from Portugal during the past 21 months. Therefore, we conclude that the overall risk to the U.S. swine population due to this outbreak of ASF in Portugal is low to negligible at this time.

CEI’s plans for follow up:

CEI currently has no plans to provide additional information on this situation; however, if the situation should change significantly, follow-up information will be provided. If you seek more information or wish to comment on this worksheet, please reply to this message or contact Vicki Bridges at (970) 490-7822 or Judy Akkina at (970) 490-7852.

Prepared by: Center for Emerging Issues, Centers for Epidemiology and Animal Health

Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, USDA



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