African swine fever (ASF)
[Image – Transmission of African swine fever – Biosecurity Queensland]
African swine fever (ASF) is a contagious viral haemorrhagic disease of domestic and wild pigs. ASF kills about 80% of the pigs it infects, and there is no registered vaccine for the disease. ASF is not present in Australia, however the disease has spread through-out the world and its changing distribution means it is a significant biosecurity threat to Australia. Affected countries in our region include Indonesia, Timor-Leste and Papua New Guinea.
ASF is clinically similar to classical swine fever but it is caused by a different virus. ASF is spread within domestic pig populations primarily through contact with infected pigs, movement of people or objects that have been in contact with infected pigs, and via feeding of contaminated swill. The virus can survive for long periods in uncooked, frozen or cured pig-meat products. It persists in contaminated pig pens for at least 30 days and is readily carried on equipment, shoes, clothing or vehicles.
ASF is a national notifiable emergency animal disease (EAD) which means an animal showing suspect signs of the disease must be reported to the Emergency Animal Disease Hotline on 1800 675 888. This number will connect you with your state or territory’s department of primary industries or agriculture.
For the latest updates and further information about African swine fever (ASF), including Australian prevention and preparedness activities, go to the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry (DAFF) website: https://www.agriculture.gov.au/biosecurity-trade/pests-diseases-weeds/animal/asf
For information on current emergency animal disease (EAD) outbreaks in Australia along with an overview of emerging risks, visit the Outbreak website: https://www.outbreak.gov.au/
Key information about the clinical signs:
ASF can present as peracute, acute, subacute and chronic forms, and the incubation period is usually 5-15 days but may be as long as 20 days. The key clinical signs to look out for included unexpected deaths, high fever and loss of appetite, and red/purple blotching of the skin.
African swine fever: A guide for veterinarians
Emergency Animal Disease Bulletin - ASF
Emergency animal diseases: A field guide for Australian veterinarians https://www.outbreak.gov.au/prepare-respond/identify-pests-diseases/emergency-animal-diseases-field-guide
[Image - Example of ASF lesions, with multiple sharply demarcated foci of cutaneous haemorrhage and/or necrosis; haemorrhagic lesions may contain dark red (necrotic) centres]
Animal Health Australia https://animalhealthaustralia.com.au/african-swine-fever/
World Organisation for Animal Health (WOAH) https://www.woah.org/en/disease/african-swine-fever/
Wildlife Health Australia https://wildlifehealthaustralia.com.au/Incidents/Incident-Information/african-swine-fever-and-feral-pigs
New South Wales Government https://www.dpi.nsw.gov.au/biosecurity/animal/info-vets/african-swine-fever
South Australian Government https://pir.sa.gov.au/biosecurity/animal_health/animal_species/pigs/african_swine_fever
Western Australian Government https://www.agric.wa.gov.au/livestock-biosecurity/african-swine-fever-biosecurity-resources-producers
Northern Territory Government https://nt.gov.au/industry/agriculture/livestock/animal-health-and-diseases/african-swine-fever
Further learning and networking:
Join the Australian Pig Veterinarians Group: https://www.ava.com.au/about-us/ava-groups/pig/