State veterinarian encourages increased biosecurity for swine owners

BISMARCK, N.D. Due to an escalating outbreak of African Swine Fever (ASF) in China and the Balkan Peninsula, as well as ongoing disease transmission of both ASF and Foot-and-Mouth Disease (FMD) in Eastern Europe, Asia and Africa, enhanced biosecurity steps are recommended for people who own, exhibit, sell or raise pigs in the United States.

ASF is a high-consequence, foreign animal, reportable disease of swine. There is no treatment or vaccination for the ASF virus. The ASF virus is resilient and can remain alive for long periods, is resistant to many disinfectants, and can survive some routine processing procedures. If the ASF virus is introduced into the United States, the cost to the U.S. economy and pork producers is estimated upwards of $4.5 billion in the first year.

“There are specific actions pig owners, pork producers, veterinarians and the public can take to prevent the disease from entering a swine herd in the U.S.,” North Dakota State Veterinarian Dr. Susan Keller said. “These include staying informed, reading labels, separating sick animals, practicing good biosecurity, and knowing and addressing risks under their control.”

Further information on specific prevention actions may be found at

The ASF virus can be spread in three ways: direct contact with the saliva, nasal secretions, blood, urine and feces of infected pigs; contact with equipment or materials contaminated with the virus, semi-processed pork products, uncooked food waste or improperly managed garbage feeding; and by the bite of soft ticks passing the virus from infected pigs to other pigs.

Clinical signs include a fever of 105°F – 107°F, blood in the feces, loss of appetite, reluctance to move, and red to dark purple skin lesions. Nearly all pigs exposed to the virus become ill, and death rates can be as high as 100 percent. However, some pigs may be infected and contagious yet demonstrate only mild or no symptoms.

Swine owners should immediately report suspected ASF to their local veterinarian or the state veterinarian’s office directly at 701-328-2655. Owners should not leave the farm or go to another farm, and they should request visitors to stay off the premises and ask producers to delay acceptance of deliveries until ASF or other foreign animal diseases have been ruled out.

ASF is not a threat to human health and has never been detected in the United States.