Secretary Naig Issues Statement Following Confirmation of African Swine Fever in the Dominican Republic

DES MOINES, Iowa (July 29, 2021) – Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig issued the following statement today after the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) confirmed positive cases of African Swine Fever (ASF) in the Dominican Republic. ASF is not considered a risk to human health or food safety but it has the potential to spread quickly among commercial, backyard, show and wild pig populations.

“I’m very concerned to learn there have been confirmed cases of African Swine Fever in the Western Hemisphere. While ASF is not a human health or food safety concern, we’ve watched the devastation it has caused to pig populations, pork producers, commodity markets and international trade as it spread through other parts of the world. We appreciate the USDA APHIS and Customs and Border Protection’s efforts to keep ASF out of the continental United States.

“ASF and other foreign animal diseases are real threats to our livestock herds and Iowa’s agriculture-based economy. That’s why the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship’s team of animal health experts have been working on developing, testing and strengthening our preparation and response plans for several years. 

“I want to remind Iowa’s livestock producers that now is the time to evaluate your farm’s biosecurity protocols and look for opportunities to strengthen them. Work with your herd veterinarian to monitor the health of your livestock. If you observe any clinical signs that are consistent with ASF, contact your veterinarian and state or federal animal health officials immediately.

“I ask all Iowans to be vigilant when traveling internationally. Please do not bring meat or meat products from other countries into the U.S. Upon returning home, do not visit a farm or come into contact with livestock for at least five days to help prevent the potential spread of diseases.”

About the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship’s Foreign Animal Disease Planning and Prevention Efforts

The Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship has participated in a series of foreign animal disease workshops and tabletop exercises over the past several years to strengthen its response plans. Recently, the Department hosted a day-long workshop with producers and agriculture group leaders to test its plans to respond to an outbreak at a fair or exhibition.

A list of resources for producers, including biosecurity best practices, how to update Premises Identifications, links to foreign animal disease webinars, and a video demonstrating how to set up a cleaning and disinfection corridor are available atiowaagriculture.gov.

About ASF

ASF is a viral disease that affects domestic, feral and pet pigs. Pigs can contract the disease through direct contact with other infected pigs, ingestion of contaminated feed or garbage, or shared equipment. Pigs infected with ASF may exhibit a fever, decreased appetite, weakness, red, blotchy skin or skin lesions, diarrhea and vomiting, coughing or difficulty breathing. There are no treatments or vaccines available for ASF.

More information about ASF is available on the USDA APHIS website.

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About the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship

Led by Secretary Mike Naig, the Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship serves the rural and urban residents that call Iowa home. Through its 14 diverse bureaus, the Department ensures animal health, food safety and consumer protection. It also promotes conservation efforts to preserve our land and enhance water quality for the next generation. Learn more at iowaagriculture.gov.

Media Contact:
Keely Coppess
Communications Director
(515) 326-1616           
Keely.Coppess@IowaAgriculture.gov