September 13, 2021


USDA unit to set up protection zones in Puerto Rico and US Virgin Islands in response to ASF



As part of its continuing efforts to respond to the detection of African swine fever (ASF) in the Dominican Republic and prevent its introduction into the United States, Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands, the United States Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) is preparing to establish Foreign Animal Disease protection zones in Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands.


ASF has not been detected in these territories. However, APHIS is taking this additional action to further safeguard the US swine herd and protect the interests and livelihoods of US pork producers.


The World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) provides for the establishment of a protection zone within an area free of disease, as a temporary measure in response to an increased risk from a neighboring country or zone of different animal health status. APHIS has concluded that this is a prudent course of action in response to the detection of ASF in the Dominican Republic.


Once the OIE recognises the protection zone(s), APHIS will work to confirm that individual countries recognise and accept the zone(s). Their recognition will ensure the continued flow of US pork and live swine exports.


When the protection zone is established, APHIS will have processes in place in Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands to restrict movements of live swine and products out of the protection zone, conduct appropriate surveillance within the protection zone, conduct a public education campaign, prohibitions on movement of live swine and products outside the region, contacting authorities to report clinical cases and similar actions.