African Swine Fever
African Swine Fever (ASF) is a viral and often fatal disease affecting domestic pigs and feral pig populations all over the world. While the virus presents no risk to humans, it is devastating to local pig populations and the commercial pork industry.
If the disease were to arrive in New Zealand, it would be devastating to the welfare of the New Zealand pig herd, and the livelihoods of farmers.Join
The disease showed up in Eurasia in 2007 and spread rapidly across the region, including to Russia and parts of Europe.
Late last year, the disease appeared in China and in recent months has spread to infect nearby countries, including Vietnam, Cambodia, and Mongolia. ASF has also been detected in passenger inspections in a number of countries including Australia.
No risk to humans
African swine fever is a viral disease that only infects pigs, not people – so it is not a public health threat nor a food safety concern. New Zealand has never been infected with ASF.
Aside from pigs, no other livestock, wildlife, or pets are affected by ASF.
New Zealand has never been infected with ASF. An outbreak would be devastating to the country’s pig industry.
NZ Pork Industry
Infected imported meat is a major concern for the NZ pork industry, given our border standards permit consumer ready cuts from the EU to enter the country without treatment.
From monitoring the spread of the disease, NZ Pork has identified that a key risk for the local industry is from infected meat getting into the lifestyle or para-commercial pig population through the feeding of uncooked food scraps, a practice that is banned but can still occur when hobby farmers are unaware of the risks.
New Zealand’s feral pig population could also come into contact with food waste, which is a major problem in Europe.
To heighten awareness of the risk, and increase public interest in the spread of the disease, NZ Pork regularly updates local media on the potential impacts of ASF. The industry is also working closely with the Government to share information, highlight farmers’ concerns and provide input into the border surveillance and protection programme.
NZ Pork will continue to monitor ASF movements, as well as other exotic disease movements that pose a threat to our industry and commercial pig herd.
Signs to look out for
Signs of African Swine Fever often include high fever, decreased appetite, weakness and general lethargy. Skin may be reddened, blotchy, or have blackened lesions.
Infected pigs may also have diarrhoea, vomiting, coughing and difficulty breathing. Abortions can occur in pregnant sows. Death usually occurs 7 to 10 days after a pig becomes infected, however sudden death is also possible.
What you can do
Waste food feeding
It’s against the law to feed pigs untreated meat, or untreated waste food that may have come into contact with meat. Food waste must be heated to 100°C for 1 hour (boil for 1 hour while stirring often).
Sixty percent of pork eaten by New Zealanders is imported. To lower the risk of ASF entering the country, buy New Zealand born and raised pork whenever you can.
Buying and selling Pigs
Only buy healthy pigs from suppliers that you know. Quarantine new stock from the rest of your herd for at least one month to ensure they aren’t carrying the disease. Make sure to act when pigs get sick – calling a vet or the MPI disease hotline.
Gear, equipment and vehicles
The virus can survive months on equipment, boots and clothing, trailers and other gear. If moving between farms, scrub, disinfect and dry all equipment properly.
International travel and guests
If travelling overseas – particularly to places where ASF is present – be certain you have not come into contact with ASF or sick pigs, and stay away from healthy pigs for at least 5 days after travelling.
Feral pigs (wild boars)
If infected, feral pigs can worsen the problem as they often cover long distances. Monitor the presence of feral pigs and keep fences in good order. If you see any sick or diseased feral pigs, call the MPI hotline.
If you detect a pig with African Swine Fever, or come across an ill or diseased feral pig, contact your local veterinarian or the MPI Exotic Pest and Disease hotline on
0800 80 99 66
Stay up to date
For the latest news and information on African Swine Fever – and it’s potential impact on New Zealand – join our mailing list. We’ll provide monthly updates on the disease, plus alerts on any breaking news.Join
Further information on ASF:
Further information on biosecurity: