African swine fever (ASF) is a viral disease that causes severe bleeding and death in both wild and domestic pigs. It cannot make people sick and does not pose a risk to human health or food products. It spreads easily from sick pigs to healthy pigs.
ASF was first discovered in Kenya in 1921 and is now found in most of sub-Saharan Africa and some areas of West Africa. Currently it is also found in areas of Eastern Europe, Belgium, China, and Vietnam. It has never been found in the United States, Canada, Australia, or New Zealand.
There is no vaccine, treatment, or cure for ASF. Pigs that become sick with African Swine Fever may display the following:
- High fever
- Difficulty breathing
- Diarrhea (sometimes bloody)
- Discharge around the eyes
- Pregnancy loss, still births, and weak litters
- Reddening or darkening of the skin, particularly ears and snout
- Weakness and unwillingness to stand
However, many different diseases in pigs can cause these signs and you cannot tell if a sick pig has ASF just by looking at it. A laboratory test is needed to confirm if a pig is sick with ASF. Therefore anyone who suspects that a pig (or pigs) under their care has ASF should immediately contact a Federal or State Animal Health Official.
Information for Producers
The best way to protect your pigs from ASF is to implement good biosecurity measures on your farm. Learn more about biosecurity here.
- African Swine Fever Fast Facts (Center for Food Security and Public Health)
- African Swine Fever: What You Need to Know (National Pork Board)
- Resources to use in FAD preparations (National Pork Board)
- USDA African Swine Fever webpage
- Iowa Pork Industry Center (Iowa State University)
- Webinar: African Swine Fever: A Global Threat (Iowa Farm Bureau Federation)
- How to Organize Farm Records for an Outbreak Response
- IA ASF State Response Plan
Information for Veterinarians
The Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship (IDALS) and United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) both classify ASF as a reportable animal disease. Anyone within Iowa that knows of a pig with ASF, that was exposed to ASF, or is displaying clinical signs of ASF is legally required to promptly report it the State Veterinarian.
- African Swine Fever Technical Factsheet (Center for Food Security and Public Health)
- Disease images
- USDA Disease Response Strategy: African Swine Fever
- World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) African Swine Fever webpage