On September 20, the Chief Veterinary Officer in Haiti reported a positive case of African swine fever (ASF) to the World Organisation for Animal Health. The sample was collected from a pig in a province bordering the Dominican Republic and was tested by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) National Veterinary Services Laboratories through a cooperative testing program.
ASF is not a threat to human health, cannot be transmitted from pigs to humans and it is not a food safety issue.
While unfortunate, this detection is not unexpected due to the recent cases of ASF in the Dominican Republic. USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) is committed to assisting both Haiti and the Dominican Republic in dealing with ASF and continues to consult with animal health officials in both countries to support response and mitigation measures.
APHIS has numerous interlocking safeguards in place to prevent ASF from entering the United States. Pork and pork products from the Haiti and the Dominican Republic are prohibited entry to the United States as a result of existing classical swine fever restrictions. After ASF was detected in the Dominican Republic, APHIS increased surveillance and safeguards in U.S. territories. These safeguards will also help prevent the spread of ASF to the United States from Haiti.
APHIS continues to work diligently with partners including the Department of Homeland Security’s U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and the U.S. swine industry to prevent ASF from entering the United States. CBP is increasing inspections of flights from Hispaniola to ensure travelers do not bring prohibited products to the United States. CBP will also ensure that garbage from these airplanes is properly disposed of to prevent the transmission of ASF.
On August 26, APHIS announced our intent to establish a Foreign Animal Disease protection zone in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. ASF has not been detected in Puerto Rico or the U.S. Virgin Islands, and APHIS is committed to keeping it out of both islands and the rest of the United States. As part of the actions taken to create the protection zone, on September 17, APHIS issued a Federal Order suspending the interstate movement of all live swine, swine germplasm, swine products, and swine byproducts from Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands to the mainland United States until APHIS can establish sufficient mitigations to authorize such movement. USDA is taking these actions out of an abundance of caution to further safeguard the U.S. swine herd and protect the interests and livelihoods of U.S. pork producers.
More information about USDA’s efforts may be found at https://www.aphis.usda.gov/aphis/ourfocus/animalhealth/animal-disease-information/swine-disease-information/african-swine-fever/seminar.
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