ASF News Whiplash

Oct 19, 2021

There’s good news and bad news on the global pandemic front, as the virus has made its way to six continents and 50 countries—and is inching closer to the U.S.

And we aren’t talking COVID-19: it’s the other global pandemic making headlines… African swine fever (ASF).

Too close for comfort: For the U.S., ASF could very well stand for Approaching, Stealthy, and Frightening. Puerto Rico is trying to fend it off from the nearby Dominican Republic and Haiti, where the virus was found in September.

Good news-ish: The USDA Ag Research Service published research on a potential vaccine in the pipeline. It provided immunity to 1/3 of swine within two weeks and full protection in all swine within four weeks.

But not so fast… Various strains of ASF will make the vaccine only somewhat effective. Plus, the U.S. doesn’t currently have ASF cases, meaning the use of the vaccine could trigger a shutdown of the U.S. export market.

Soundbite: “We simply can’t vaccinate our country and expect to maintain export markets, unless there’s some agreements or monitoring system that everyone is in favor of,” noted Scott Dee of Pipestone Veterinary Services.