Pork industry threat: African swine fever reaches PNG

Wednesday, 08 April, 2020

Pork industry threat: African swine fever reaches PNG

Biosecurity Queensland has accelerated critical preparedness activities, after African swine fever was detected in the Southern Highlands Province of Papua New Guinea. The detection puts Queensland at the frontline of the disease, and heightens the risk to the state’s pork industry.

“Biosecurity Queensland has been on the front foot in the fight against African swine fever and continues to work with the Australian Government and the pig industry to provide a united front against African swine fever. Australia is free from African swine fever and we want to keep it that way,” said Mark Furner, Minister for Agricultural Industry Development and Fisheries.

“If African swine fever became established in Queensland it would be difficult to eradicate and could significantly impact pork availability, jobs and the economy. That is why African swine fever prevention and preparedness remains a priority for Queensland, and if it is detected here in Queensland we will respond.”

There is currently no treatment or vaccine for African swine fever, and in its most severe form it can kill 100% of infected pigs.

“Given Papua New Guinea is one of our nearest neighbours, and the large feral pig population in Far North Queensland, people need to be aware of how they can help reduce the risk of African swine fever. People illegally bringing pigs or pork products into Australia could introduce African swine fever, threatening our pork industry. While people can’t be infected with African swine fever, it can easily be spread between pigs and can be spread on people’s boots and clothing if not cleaned correctly.”

Furner said extra vigilance was required in the fight against African swine fever due to the COVID-19 pandemic. It is advised that all pigs, domestic and feral, must not have access to meat or food contaminated by meat. Food scraps and waste should be disposed of in a secure bin, so pigs cannot access and eat it.

“If African swine fever enters Australia, COVID-19 restrictions would affect the way industry and government responds,” Furner said.

Biosecurity Queensland has considered the current restrictions and is prepared and ready to respond working within the requirements.

“As COVID-19 is significantly impacting how we all go about our daily lives, the early detection and reporting of African swine fever is critical to stopping the spread of this disease,” Furner said.

More information about African swine fever can be found at qld.gov.au/AfricanSwineFever.

Image credit: ©stock.adobe.com/au/Renar

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