ASF Remains a Threat Despite Some Vaccine Progress—Vilsack

African Swine Fever is a growing threat, as the disease spreads to countries close to the U.S., but Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack says there’s still no ready vaccine, so preventing entry here is the best option.

The highly contagious, deadly, and economically devastating disease is on the move, now in countries all over the world and as close to the U.S. as the Caribbean.

Secretary Vilsack told House lawmakers recently, the Ag Research Service has made some progress on a vaccine, but work continues.

“The reality is, we haven’t figured it out yet, we haven’t solved it yet, and so, we have to make sure it doesn’t get into this country, and so, as a result of the Haitian and Dominican Republic situation, we are aggressively promoting activities down in that part of the world to basically, contain the situation.”

Starting with key entry points to the United States. “Making sure that we do everything we can in Puerto Rico and elsewhere, to prevent anything from coming into the mainland, working with Customs to make sure the right questions are being asked at the border, increasing communication in Puerto Rico and areas where there may be potential issues, in terms of folks coming in to the mainland from those areas.”

USDA says African Swine Fever is not a threat to human health and not a food safety issue, but its rapid spread among farm-raised and wild pigs can force massive culling and huge economic losses.

New outbreaks have occurred in the Philippines, Hong Kong, Italy, Germany, Latvia, and now closer to home in Haiti and the Dominican Republic.

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