Chief veterinary officer warns of ASF’s ‘high environmental resistance’

The transmission of African swine fever (ASF) can occur via contaminated objects such as shoes, clothes, vehicles and other items, according to Ireland’s chief veterinary officer Martin Blake.

Speaking on Newstalk‘s ‘Breakfast Business‘, Blake explained that this is due to the high environmental resistance of the ASF virus.

He added that a range of measures have been put in place on farms and in factories to help keep Ireland free from the disease.

The Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine’s chief vet explained: “This transboundary animal disease (TAD) can be spread by live or dead pigs, domestic or wild, and through pork products.

There is no vaccine against ASF – with the only current solution being to slaughter animals.

“Millions of animals have been culled across China and Vietnam,” the chief veterinary officer remarked.

Continuing, he said: “I think what we’re seeing is chemical disease across two continents – in particular eastern Europe and into Asia.

“When we see that China has 50% of the pigs of the world, and the whole of China now seems to be affected by the disease; you can appreciate the actual impact that’s having on global pig production.

It is important to actually stress that this is a disease of pigs only – it doesn’t affect any other animal, or humans.

Blake added: “If we don’t bring back pork or pork products we actually significantly reduce the risk. I think that’s a clear message we give to people travelling abroad nowadays.”

Concluding, he stressed: “We’re trying to emphasise: Don’t bring back pork or pork products into Ireland. That is the primary advice we’re giving; do not bring back pork or pork products into Ireland.”

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