African Swine Fever Forum: Our forward agenda

The African Swine Fever (ASF) Forum was held in Ottawa on April 30 and May 1, 2019. The objective of the ASF Forum was to advance regional cooperation in the prevention and mitigation of the impact of ASF in the Americas.

Discussions provided participants with an enhanced understanding of the important issues, allowing decision makers to focus their attention on regional collaborations to strengthen efforts to prevent and respond to an outbreak of ASF in the Americas.

2019-2020

May 2, 2019

Meeting of the Executive Board of the OIE Regional Commission for the Americas

May 24, 2019

Meeting of G7 CVOs

May 26 to 31, 2019

87th OIE General Session

August 2019

North American Animal Health Committee meeting

Key messages

  1. In the Americas, countries are currently free of ASF, we have a window of opportunity to act decisively in coordinated manner.
  2. We need to leverage existing partnerships and governance to advance work on ASF at every level – national, regional and global.
  3. The spread of this disease is human driven, therefore, engagement and increased awareness among all stakeholders is required. This includes tailored approaches for hard to reach groups such as small scale producers, pet owners and hunters.
  4. The epidemiology of this disease is complex and unique: the virus is capable of persisting in pork products and surviving in the environment. This requires rigorous approaches to border security, biosecurity and environmental decontamination.
  5. Consistent and thorough implementation of biosecurity measures is required throughout the production continuum from feed and other service providers, producers, transporters, renderers, and processors.
  6. A better understanding of the wild pig populations in each country and the Americas region as a whole is needed to characterize their epidemiological role in disease risk and establish effective population/disease control strategies.
  7. Zoning and compartmentalization are key tools to minimize trade disruptions and implementation depends on a strong partnership between industry and veterinary services, ideally agreed to in peace time.
  8. The real game changer for control and eradication would be a vaccine. Partnerships are needed to support research to complete the development of an effective and safe vaccine for ASF.
  9. The response elements of destruction, disposal, and decontamination (3D) require critical focus as part of preparedness planning.
  10. Consistent, co-ordinated, (pre-determined where possible) messaging from trusted sources is critical during a disease event.

Next steps – The journey ahead

Countries should develop a national action plan for ASF prevention and control reflective of their pork sector and risk pathways.

Under GF-TADS Americas Committee, establish a Standing Group of Experts on ASF for the Americas to build closer cooperation among countries to address preparedness and response to the disease in a collaborative and harmonised manner. The multidisciplinary group requires expertise in:

Promote a regional partnership to share reference material, laboratory services, transfer diagnostic capacity to facilitate early detection of ASF in the Americas, and to advance the development of new rapid diagnostics, including field testing.

Conduct sub-regional exercises to test country preparedness plans for ASF and share lessons learned across the region.

Request the OIE to develop specific guidance on the implementation of zoning and compartmentalization for ASF and how to adapt these measures to different production systems.

Support and invest in the Global ASF Research Alliance to continue to coordinate international research efforts to address gaps, in particular for the development a vaccine for ASF virus.

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