THE Caribbean Agricultural Health and Food Safety Agency (CAHSFA) is advising Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Member States to intensify protective measures against the African Swine Fever (ASF) which is now confirmed to be in the Americas. The disease has already killed more than 800 pigs in two locations in the Dominican Republic.
African Swine Fever is a highly contagious haemorrhagic viral disease of domestic and wild pigs. It is a transboundary animal disease (TAD) that can be spread by live or dead pigs, domestic or wild, and pork products, contaminated feed and objects such as shoes, clothes, vehicles, and knives. ASF had significantly reduced the pig population in China back in 2019 and has the potential for devastating consequences for the Caribbean.
The matter was under discussion as recent as 29 July 2021, at the 21st Annual Meeting of the CARICOM Committee of Chief Veterinary Officers.
Among the recommendations the meeting advanced to limit the spread of the
disease to other countries in the Region were:
- Increased border surveillance
- Activating or updating national disease emergency/contingency plans
- Intensifying surveillance and early detection mechanisms and activities
- Intensifying regional coordination among development partners
- Revising and updating procedures to manage international garbage from ports of entry, and
- Improving collaboration in the area of diagnostics (CARICOM Secretariat, Guyana).