African swine fever (ASF) is a contagious viral disease of pigs. ASF poses a severe threat to animal welfare and affects productivity. Both domestic and feral pigs may be affected. ASF poses no risk to humans.
Clinical signs are variable but will include some or all of the following:
- Diarrhoea (sometimes bloody)
- Reddening or darkening of the skin, particularly ears and snout
- Gummed-up eyes
- Laboured breathing and coughing
- Abortion, still births and weak litters
- Weakness and unwillingness to stand
At the first sign of disease, isolate sick animals and stop all livestock movement. If you suspect African swine fever you are required by law to notify your local Animal & Plant Health Agency (APHA) Office immediately.
There has never been a known case of African swine fever in the UK.
In light of the spread of African swine fever in parts of Eastern and Central Europe during 2017, Scottish Government as part of a wider joint government and industry campaign issued a news release and two short videos reminding all pig keepers that they must not feed kitchen scraps or catering waste to their pigs. Although both videos carry similar messages, one is aimed at commercial pig keepers whilst the other is aimed at pet pig owners.
How African swine fever is spread
African swine fever can be spread by:
Pigs can start shedding the virus before clinical signs of disease are visible, and may continue for weeks or months afterwards. This is why good biosecurity and responsible sourcing of livestock are so essential.
The Scottish Government, SRUC and Quality Meat Scotland have produced a set of leaflets providing practical advice for pig keepers to prevent disease on their premises. These can be downloaded from the following links:
The Disease Control Strategy for African and Classical Swine Fever in Great Britain sets out the disease control measures we would take if African swine fever was confirmed in domestic pigs.
All pigs on the infected premises would be culled. Disease control zones would be declared with movement restrictions and controls on pigs, meat and anything likely to spread disease within the zones.
The Diseases of Swine Regulations 2014
EU Council Directive 2002/60/EC