What is African Swine Fever?

African Swine Fever (ASF) is a pig disease  that is harmless to humans, pets and other animals.   When it occurs in pigs, it can be very serious and causes a high mortality rate.

Has ASF occurred in Canadian pigs?

No.  ASF has never been detected in Canadian pigs.  It also has never been detected in U.S. pigs.

Can humans get ASF?

Although ASF is a serious disease in pigs, ASF is harmless to humans, pets and other animals. 

Can I still eat pork?

All pork is safe to eat, and Canadians can continue to enjoy pork products. ASF only affects pigs and is harmless to humans.  

What is the likelihood of ASF being present in the pork product I bought in the grocery store?

Pork from pigs with ASF will not enter the food supply. In the unlikely event that a person encountered pork from a pig with ASF, it would be harmless to him or her.  ASF is also destroyed through heat like cooking. 

The CFIA has strict restrictions on the imports of pigs and pork products from countries with confirmed ASF cases to protect our pig herds.

If humans cannot get ASF, why are we hearing so much about it?

Although ASF is harmless to humans, if it occurred in a Canadian pig, it could harm pigs and impact Canada’s ability to export pork, which would impact pig farmers and pork companies.    

Can my pet get ASF?

ASF is harmless to pets and other animals. 

What are the signs of ASF in a pig?

ASF symptoms in pigs are serious and include high fever, loss of appetite, vomiting, diarrhea and difficulty breathing. A trained veterinarian can identify the symptoms, but a test is needed to confirm the diagnosis.

How is ASF transmitted?

ASF is a disease that only affects pigs and can be spread through physical contact between pigs, through ticks, vehicles, clothing and contaminated feed.

Why is it so difficult to control and eradicate ASF?

Because ASF is a highly contagious  disease among pigs, it can easily be spread and has a high pig mortality rate.  Farms and other operations where ASF is detected in pigs will be quarantined and must take rapid actions to contain the spread.

Is there a treatment or cure for ASF in pigs?

There is currently no effective treatment or cure for ASF.  Efforts are under way to create a vaccine, but no vaccine is available yet.

There are wild pigs in my area. Can they catch ASF?

ASF can affect wild pigs that exist in parts of Canada. Thorough surveillance has not identified ASF in Canada’s wild pig population.

If ASF is found in Canada, will pork products be recalled?

No recall will be necessary. Pork from an infected pig will not enter the food supply, but even if a human came into contact with pork from an infected pig, it would pose no food safety or public health risk. 

What is Canada doing to minimize the risk of ASF?

Canada is working to prevent ASF from crossing our border by strengthening its presence at all border entries.  As part of this effort, Canada has used campaigns like “Don’t pack pork” to educate citizens about the laws that prohibit travelers from bringing pork products into Canada, especially if they come from nations with ASF. 

The government and industry are working together to prevent ASF and have rapid response plans in place to contain and eradicate ASF if it occurs.  Canadian farms have very strict biosecurity practices to prevent ASF in pig barns.

What happens if ASF is confirmed in a Canadian pig?

If the CFIA confirms ASF in a pig, the pig and its herd will be humanely euthanized. The affected barns and processing facilities will thoroughly sanitize the facility, vehicles, staff and equipment, and cooperate with key external officials, such as local veterinarians, the CFIA, industry organizations and supply chain partners to contain the disease and eradicate it as quickly as possible.

How will infected pigs be euthanized?

Pigs are euthanized through a variety of methods accepted by the Canadian and U.S veterinary medical organizations.  Different methods are used depending upon the location where infection is detected.

What countries have confirmed cases of ASF in pigs?

To date, ASF has been confirmed in parts of Europe, Asia, Africa, Russia and in the Dominican Republic.

How will our trade with the U.S. be impacted if ASF is detected in the U.S. or Canada?

Canada and the United States have reached an agreement that would permit some trade to continue if ASF occurs in either country after a defined period of time.  Before limited trade could resume, careful controls would need to be established and only pigs and pork from ASF-free zones of the U.S. and/or Canada would be allowed to cross the border.

If travelling, what should we know about eating pork or coming into contact with pigs in other countries?

ASF is harmless to humans, but humans can spread  ASF through contaminated clothes or equipment and by bringing pork from other countries into the U.S. 

Do your research before travelling. If you are visiting a country with confirmed cases of ASF, do not interact with wild pigs or visit pig farms.

Upon arrival in Canada, travelers must be diligent at the border and declare any food or animal products they are carrying or if they have been on a farm and/or are planning to visit a farm in Canada within 14 days.