UMN Experts: African Swine Fever

From left to right: John Deen, Sarah Schieck and Pedro E. Urriola
From left to right: John Deen, Sarah Schieck and Pedro E. Urriola

African Swine Fever (ASF) is a highly contagious disease that causes hemorrhages in pigs. ASF outbreaks in China have resulted in quarantines, movement controls and mandatory culling of swine in affected areas in an effort to control the disease, which could make its way to the U.S. and affect U.S. trade. 

University of Minnesota experts John Deen, Sarah Schieck and Pedro E. Urriola weigh in on the implications ASF’s presence in China has on the U.S., how ASF is transmitted and what pig farmers can do to protect their herds against the disease.

John Deen
“ASF has been endemic in Africa and has spread to eastern Europe over the past decade. However, in August, it was also diagnosed in more than 20 locations in China, home to half the world’s pigs and an active trade partner of the U.S.

“If ASF migrates to the U.S., it would impede exports of American pork, where other countries now purchase approximately 25 percent of the pork produced. Estimates of the cost of the disease are up to $13.5 billion in the first year alone.”

John Deen is a professor in the College of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Minnesota. His expertise includes swine health and welfare, epidemiology of swine diseases, in both the U.S. and other pig producing countries.

Contact information:
John Deen
612 424-2558 (c)

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Sarah Schieck
“ASF can be found in all body fluids and tissues of infected pigs. Pigs can become infected by direct contact with an infected pig or by ingesting garbage containing unprocessed infected pork or pork products. Biting flies and ticks, contaminated premises, vehicles, equipment or clothing can also spread the virus 

“Traveling overseas to areas with ASF outbreaks or hosting visitors from ASF infected areas can also be a threat of introducing ASF to the U.S. People traveling internationally should follow specific biosecurity practices prior to the trip, while traveling abroad and upon returning to the U.S. Planning for international travel will reduce the risk of infecting the U.S. pork industry.”

Sarah Schieck is a University of Minnesota Extension Educator specializing in swine.

Contact information:
Sarah Schieck
320-235-0726 ext. 2004 (o)

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Pedro E. Urriola
"ASF and other viruses may be transmitted via feed and feed ingredients intended for use in pig diets. The U.S. imports a fair amount of feed ingredients from various regions of the world and subsequently there is a risk of bringing the virus in imported feed ingredients.

“At the University of Minnesota, we’re developing a hazard analysis and risk preventive controls as a mechanism which pork producers and the feed industry can use to mitigate the risk of disease transmission."

Pedro E. Urriola is a research assistant professor in the Department of Animal Science in the College of Food, Agricultural and Natural Resource Sciences at the University of Minnesota. His research interests include the sustainability of pork production and the improvement of nutritional utilization of alternative feed ingredients in diets for growing pigs.

Contact information:
Pedro E. Urriola
612-624-1244 (o)

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