U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue is ordering the appropriate agencies in his department to “double down the guard to keep African swine fever out of the United States.”
Perdue told members of the North American Meat Institute at their Fall Forum in Washington this week that the USDA has put restrictions on imports of swine and pork from China.
While ASF, a highly contagious hemorrhagic disease of pigs, has not crossed U.S. borders yet, the devastating virus has been garnering headlines as more cases have been spreading across China and Eastern Europe. There is currently no treatment or vaccine for ASF.
Perdue says he also has been working with the industry to increase biosecurity efforts and to prepare in case the disease makes it way into U.S. hog operations.
“We are going to work immediately to contain and stamp out this disease and to eliminate it quickly,” Perdue says.
One key to that is early detection rapid confirmation testing.
“We are working now to make sure that we have got adequate federal and state laboratory capacity to handle any of the testing needs that may occur,” Perdue says. “You have to prepare for the worst and pray for the best, and that is what we are doing at the USDA.”