In the ongoing global battle against African swine fever (ASF), Boehringer Ingelheim has developed the ASF Comprehensive Online Management & Biosecurity Assessment Tool (ASF COMBAT), which enables pig producers to evaluate areas for biosecurity improvement on their farms by completing a short questionnaire based on ASF virus scientific literature and practical experience, intended to help reducing the ASF introduction risk level, the company said in a Dec. 17 announcement.
ASF is a devastating viral infection of swine causing severe clinical disease and high mortality. The disease cannot be treated and currently no effective vaccines are available. ASF does not affect humans.
On a daily basis, pig farms are facing multiple types of biosecurity risks, but some of them remain unnoticed, Boehringer Ingelheim said. If a farm is located in an ASF affected area, the risk of new virus introduction increases but all farms need to be prepared and understand the risks they face. In order to be able to reduce the risk of ASF virus introductions and increase disease resilience, management and pig flow become even more crucial, the company said.
According to Boehringer Ingelheim, with ASF COMBAT, improved biosecurity, pig flow, management and feeding practices are facilitated by highlighting the most important risk areas related to ASF introduction, which the tool evaluates:
- Animals -- ASF virus spreads by direct contact, and live animals can carry the virus.
- Transport -- vehicles that have carried infected pigs can be a risk to other farms because ASF virus is highly resistant in the environment.
- People -- how farm staff behaves can affect the risk profile of the farm.
- Management -- the daily routines on the farm are critical in the prevention of ASF entering the herd.
- Feeding -- ASF virus can stay infective in kitchen scraps, catering waste or food leftovers contaminated with infected pork.
- Location -- proximity to infected swine, wild boar can pose serious risk that need to be understood.
The purpose of this easy-to-use tool is to assist in identifying potential areas for improvement, but it is not intended to replace the advice of a veterinarian or health authorities, the company said.
ASF COMBAT can be accessed online on this website or downloaded as an app from Apple Store or Google Play.