African swine fever has been confirmed in the Dominican Republic, prompting new concerns from agriculture as the disease, which has devastated swine production in China, spreads to North America.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service said it is strengthening safeguards in place to help prevent the disease from reaching the U.S. Pork and pork products from the Dominican Republic are already restricted from entering the U.S. The Department of Homeland Security’s Customs and Border Protection will ramp up inspections of flights from the Dominican Republic to ensure prohibited items are not carried into the U.S. and will ensure garbage from those flights is properly disposed of.
USDA will also work with officials in the Dominican Republic and neighboring Haiti on measures to mitigate the disease’s spread.
African swine fever is a highly contagious and deadly virus affecting swine. Outbreaks can be devastating to hog producers as there is no treatment or vaccine available and exposed herds must be depopulated. The disease is not a threat to human health or a food safety concern, according to USDA.