Classical swine fever (CSF) is a highly contagious and economically significant viral disease of pigs. The severity of the illness varies with the strain of the virus, the age of the pig, and the immune status of the herd. Acute infections, which are caused by highly virulent isolates and have a high mortality rate in naive herds, are more likely to be diagnosed rapidly. However, infections with less virulent isolates can be more difficult to recognize, particularly in older pigs. The range of clinical signs and its clinical similarity to other diseases can make classical swine fever challenging to diagnose. Although classical swine fever was once widespread, many countries have eradicated this disease from domesticated swine. CSF was eradicated from the U.S in 1978.
Pigs are infected by the oral or nasal routes but can also enter via other mucus membranes as well as skin abrasions. CSF can be transmitted to healthy pigs coming into contact with contaminated vehicles, pens, feed, or clothing. Feeding swine untreated food wastes containing infected pork scraps can cause infection, making raw garbage feeding a major risk for CSF incursion into swine herds.
Signs of CSF vary with the strain of classical swine fever virus and the age and susceptibility of the pigs. High fever, huddling, constipation followed by diarrhea and reddened eyes are often seen. The skin may show hemorrhages with discoloration of the ears, abdomen or inner thighs. Young pigs may have incoordination, or weakness. The disease can adversely affect reproduction with sows aborting or delivering stillborn or malformed piglets. Milder forms of virus or infection in partially immune pigs may exhibit mild or no symptoms and yet still harbor and spread the virus.
Prevention is the best practice since there is no treatment for classical swine fever other than supportive care. Pigs that recover may shed virus for varying periods of time, serving as an infection risk to unaffected contact pigs. CSF Vaccines are available, require USDA approval for use, and can be used to assist in outbreak response efforts.
Classical swine fever should be reported immediately upon diagnosis or suspicion of the disease.
Federal: Area Veterinarians in Charge (AVICS): VS District Offices Points of Contact