Mexico Takes Action Against African Swine FeverBy Sofía Hanna | Wed, 08/04/2021 - 17:57
On Tuesday, Mexico activated an integral biosafety plan to fight the threat posed by the African Swine Fever (ASF). This plan consists of reinforcing the mechanisms of prevention, detection, and control to prevent the entrance of ASF into the country. Mexico’s government will implement health intelligence work, review animal health requirements and biocontainment measures and strengthen inspection at ports, airports and borders.
“This is an emergency, in a context in which a human health crisis situation is being addressed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we cannot afford to add an additional crisis that would affect the country’s productive chain, therefore that it will be necessary to heed the recommendations of the health authorities and assume the responsibility of all those involved,” said Víctor Villalobos Arámbula, Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development. During a virtual working meeting with the Mexican Organization of Pig Farmers (Opormex) and international organizations, Arámbula highlighted the importance of working together to prevent further threats.
Swine fever represents a great risk for national pig production. For this reason, it was necessary to define actions and steps that maintain fluid, real-time communication that allows the timely attention of any symptom. In case of a positive diagnosis, the results from any farm should be communicated immediately so authorities can provide timely technical assessment and attention.
The biosafety plan to prevent the entry of ASF into the country has the key objective of protecting the national production of pork and its derivatives. It includes the following steps:
- Strengthening inspection measures in all offices located in the customs and borders.
- Work in coordination with the country’s pig farmers.
- Keep a permanent state of alert in case the disease enters Mexico. If this were to happen, the National Animal Health Emergency Device (DINESA) will be immediately implemented for the control and rapid eradication of this disease.
Swine Fever in the World
According to the FAO, ASF “is a hemorrhagic disease of pigs, generally characterized by high morbidity and high mortality. The disease devastates pig production in highly industrialized pig farms, small commercial pig farms and backyard, with the consequent closure of export markets for animals and meat, destroying pig populations.” The disease appears to be transmitted by direct contact between infected and susceptible pigs and by infected soft ticks of the genus Ornithodoros. It has several wildlife reservoirs in areas where it is endemic. The virus can persist for long periods in contaminated environments or cured swine products, which can represent a source of infection or introduction of disease to distant areas.