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African Swine Fever detected in CARICOM region, says Caribbean health officials

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Posted: Friday, July 30, 2021. 3:01 pm CST.

By Rubén Morales Iglesias: African Swine Fever has killed more than 800 pigs in two areas of the Dominican Republic causing the Caribbean Agricultural Health and Food Safety Agency (CAHFSA) to become very concerned, according to CARICOM TODAY.

CAHFSA has alerted the member states of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) of advising them to ramp up measures to protect their local pig population against the African Swine Fever (ASF).

According to the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA), “African Swine Fever (ASF) is a highly contagious and deadly swine disease that can affect both farm-raised and feral (wild) pigs. ASF doesn’t infect people, but it is readily passed from one pig to another by direct contact with bodily fluids from an infected pig.”

The Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) at the US Department of Agriculture says African Swine Fever is a “devastating and deadly disease that would have a significant impact” where it appears and that since there is no treatment or vaccine to deal with it “the only way to stop this disease is to depopulate all affected or exposed swine herds.”

The African Swine Fever has affected the sub-Saharan Africa, China, Mongolia, and Vietnam.

If it spreads from the Dominican Republic, it could devastate the CARICOM pig industry.

CARICOM TODAY reported that the topic was discussed at the 21st Annual Meeting of the CARICOM Committee of Chief Veterinary Officers on Thursday, July 29.

The recommendations coming out of the meeting to control the spread of the disease to other countries in the region were:

“Increased border surveillance

Activating or updating national disease emergency/contingency plans

Intensifying surveillance and early detection mechanisms and activities

Intensifying regional coordination among development partners

Revising and updating procedures to manage international garbage from ports of entry, and

Improving collaboration in the area of diagnostics”.

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