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.
An outbreak would be devastating to the country’s pig industry.
Infected imported meat is a major concern for the NZ pork industry.
New Zealand's current border standards permit consumer-ready cuts from the EU to enter the country without treatment.
From monitoring the spread of the disease, NZPork has identified that a key risk for the local industry is from infected meat being fed to pigs kept on lifestyle blocks or commercial properties. This can happen when pigs consume uncooked food scraps, a practice that is banned but can still occur when hobby farmers are unaware of the risks or the regulations.
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, NZPork 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.
NZPork will continue to monitor ASF movements, as well as other exotic disease movements that pose a threat to our industry and commercial pig herd.
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.
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.
Check out MPI's ASF factsheet
Who to contact
If you think you've seen a case of ASF, isolate the animal immediately and do not move it off your property. Call your veterinarian, or contact our pest and disease hotline on 0800 80 99 66.
If you have questions about ASF, please email firstname.lastname@example.org