african swine fever asf haiti

Haiti has recorded its first outbreak of the fatal pig virus, african swine fever, in 37 years.

On August 26th 2021, The world organization for animal health “OIE” said it officially detected an ASF infection in the location of Anse-a-Pitre, a town near Haiti’s border with the Dominican Republic (both countries share the island of Hispaniola).

The samples of Haiti’s infected pigs where sent and positive diagnosed at the USDA’s specialized lab of Plum Island.

Haiti is the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere, and has no means to control or eradicate the African Swine Fever infection.

Both the US and Canada are supporting Haiti with controls and testing. The US and Canada giant pork industries are at risk because of the ASF getting so close to the American border. The closest territory is the US Island of Puerto Rico. But both Haiti and the Dominican Republic have an intense human traffic with the US in the Eastern Cost and Florida. There is a huge Dominican immigration in the US, especially in New York, New Jersey and Philadelphia areas. The area with more Haitian immigration is Miami in the Florida.

The US customs and border authorities are working hard controlling passengers and cargo coming from the DR and Haiti, and have already interdicted dangerous things such as sandwiches containing pig ham as well as illegal pig meat. The asf can be transmitted by ill animals, ticks, carcasses, contaminated feed as well as by both fresh and cured/dried pig meat (like ham and sausage).

African Swine Fever in the US: a closer threat

African swine fever is moving closer to american Shores. This time the disease has been confirmed in Haiti, the country reporting its first case of asf since 1984 to the world organization for animal health OIE.

The outbreak started on august 25th near the border with the Dominican Republic, in the city of Anse-a-Pite, on a farm with 2 500 susceptible animals. The area is near the border with the Dominican Republic which confirmed the disease in its own country back on July 28th 2021.

Anse-a-Pitre, where the oubreak of ASF was first detected in Haiti, is just about 700 miles away from the Florida coast. Right now the u.s remains free the deadly virus that only affects pigs but specialists warns that if asf is found in the u.s, pork exports would shut off nearly overnight.

That is what happened with Germany earlier this year, they lost their export opportunity into Asia and that probably would happen almost certainly if the ASF reaches the US.

Germany was the largest exporter of pig meat to China, and after the ASF infection had to change the destination of its pork to markets in the EU. Because of that, pork prices in Europe have plummeted.

In case ASF infects US pigs, the local population would have to eat 25 to 30 percent more pork to compensate for the loss of the Asian markets (mostly China).

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