Local Authorities across the country have been asked by DEFRA to help raise awareness of the threat that posed at the moment by African Swine Fever (ASF).
ASF has been spreading in Eastern Europe since 2014 and new cases have been reported as far west as Belgium. Although the disease does not affect humans and there is no food safety risk associated with meat, ASF is a highly contagious and usually fatal viral disease of pigs. The ASF virus can survive months to years in smoked, dried, cured and frozen meat and meat products from infected pork or wild boar.
The disease can be spread on clothing, boots and vehicles and improperly discarded imported pork products. In order to reduce the risk of introducing this disease, it is important not to bring back pork or wild boar meat and meat products to the UK. If such products are brought back it is important that they are disposed of correctly in sealed bins, and never left in open bins or discarded from vehicles.
The main clinical signs of ASF are: fever, loss of appetite, lack of energy, sudden death with few signs beforehand. Other signs can include: vomiting, diarrhoea, red or dark skin, particularly on the ears and snout, discharges from the eyes and nose, laboured breathing and coughing, abortions, weakness and unsteady gait.
African swine fever is a notifiable animal disease. If you suspect it you must report it immediately by calling the Defra Rural Services Helpline on 03000 200 301.