Following detection of African swine fever in the Caribbean in 2021, USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service further increased efforts to protect U.S. swine from the transboundary disease. Two outreach campaigns designed to increase awareness were launched. The Swine Health Information Center appreciates their work to target international travelers as well as pork producers, veterinarians and pig owners. The following overview of activities was provided by APHIS.
In 2022, as part of their international traveler campaign, APHIS placed signs in 10 international airports (Los Angeles (LAX), New York (JFK), Chicago O’Hare, Atlanta, Miami, San Francisco, Newark, Houston, San Juan (Puerto Rico), and Des Moines). Signs encouraged travelers not to bring prohibited pork products into the United States. In an announcement, USDA said, "APHIS identified these airports through a pathway risk analysis that showed they present the highest risk of passengers transporting potentially infected, prohibited products."
In addition to signage, the campaign uses digital and social media advertising focused on the top 25 international airports by travel volume. People searching for terms associated with international travel were also targeted by the campaign. Analysis shows APHIS' campaign has produced over 63.5 million digital impressions and resulted in nearly 150,000 visits to their web page. At the time of this report, airport signs had reached over 150 million people based on airport volume.
The second campaign, APHIS' Protect Our Pigs awareness campaign, was designed to support commercial pork producers, veterinarians and pig owners, by providing information and resources to help safeguard the US pork industry. APHIS recognizes these stakeholders as the first line of defense against ASF domestically.
The campaign included the debut of a website to house key ASF materials. Content includes downloadable fact sheets and posters, instructional videos, shareable social media graphics, and an interactive biosecurity guide. "By working together and becoming educated, APHIS, producers, veterinarians, and owners will be ready to respond immediately should an ASF outbreak be detected," APHIS wrote.
In 2022, APHIS hosted a second ASF Action Week, an annual event incorporating webinars, reminders and resources along with opportunities to answer and discuss questions about ASF and effective preparedness and response. APHIS reports it is planning to host its third ASF Action Week in 2023 and encourages interested parties to sign up for email alerts for the latest information on Action Week and other related activities.
SHIC, launched by the National Pork Board in 2015 solely with Pork Checkoff funding, continues to focus efforts on prevention, preparedness and response to novel and emerging swine disease for the benefit of U.S. swine health. SHIC is funded by America's pork producers to fulfill its mission to protect and enhance the health of the U.S. swine herd.