October 21, 2019
US faces higher risk of ASF risk, study finds
African swine fever has not yet to reach the United States, but following the recent spread of the disease in Asia and Western Europe, an international team of researchers have set out to measure the risk of ASF entering the US through the smuggling of pork products in air passenger luggage.
The team includes Andres Perez, director of the Center for Animal Health and Food Safety (University of Minnesota College of Veterinary Medicine).
The study, which was published early this month, indicates that the risk of ASF arriving in the US has nearly doubled since the ASF epidemic began in 2018, and that five specific airports account for over 90% of the potential risk: Newark-New Jersey, George Bush-Houston-Texas, Los Angeles-California, John F. Kennedy-New York, and San Jose-California.
Additionally, the probability is high that the ASF virus is already reaching the US borders through smuggling of pork products, but, likely due to the work of United States Customs and Border Protection, the virus has not entered the country.
If ASF were to enter the US, its spread would cause immense economic damage to the pork industry and food production more broadly, and could lead to billions of dollars of losses for swine producers. This study's findings can help support decision making for disease surveillance strategies in the US swine industry and transportation hubs.
- University of Minnesota College of Veterinary Science