Following the news that the African Swine Fever (ASF) has been detected in the Americas, Antigua and Barbuda is expected to take steps to keep the disease that affects pigs from the nation’s shores.
Livestock farmers in the country and around the region have already been advised to “intensify protective measures” against the disease.
The Caribbean Agricultural Health and Food Safety Agency (CAHSFA) made the announcement over the weekend, after discussions were held at the recently concluded 21st Annual Meeting of the CARICOM Committee of Chief Veterinary Officers.
Among the recommendations to limit the spread of the disease to other countries in the Region were; Increased border surveillance, Activating or updating national disease emergency or contingency plans, intensifying surveillance and early detection mechanisms and activities, among others.
African Swine Fever is a highly contagious hemorrhagic viral disease of domestic and wild pigs.
It is a transboundary animal disease (TAD) that can be spread by live or dead pigs, domestic or wild, and pork products, contaminated feed and objects such as shoes, clothes, vehicles, and knives.
ASF had significantly reduced the pig population in China back in 2019 and has the potential for devastating consequences for the Caribbean.
Thus far the disease has already killed more than 800 pigs in two locations in the Dominican Republic.