African swine fever

Australia is currently free of African swine fever (ASF). As an industry, we maintain high standards to keep it that way. Stay updated with our biosecurity guides and protocols to help us prevent ASF from entering, or spreading, in Australia.  

Overview

African swine fever (ASF) is a highly infectious viral disease that affects domestic and wild pigs of all breeds.  

While ASF is usually fatal in infected pigs, it is not harmful to human, pets, or other livestock. There is currently no vaccine for the prevention or treatment of ASF worldwide.  
 
ASF was first detected in Kenya in 1914. Since then, it has spread through Europe, Eastern Europe, to Asia and as close to Australia as Timor Leste, Indonesia and Papua New Guinea. Over time, ASF virus has evolved. There are new variants that have been reported.

ASF can cause: 

  • High mortality rate in pigs 

  • Severe loss of farms 

  • Barriers to international trade

Protecting our industry

We maintain some of the highest standards in the world to protect our pigs through rigorous biosecurity. As ASF is highly contagious amongst pigs, it poses a significant threat to our industry if it were to enter Australia. High risk factors for disease transfer are: 

  • Feeding food scraps or waste to pigs 

  • Feral pig contact 

  • Poor biosecurity  

While Australia is currently free of ASF, meat products with virus fragments have been seized at our border.

Symptoms

Symptoms of ASF in pigs can include: 

  • Unusual increase in death 

  • Red or purple blotching of the skin 

  • Enlarged spleen 

  • Uncoordination 

  • Loss of appetite 

  • Vomiting 

  • Heavy discharge from eyes or nose 

ASF update

Find our monthly update on ASF including: 

  • Global impacts 

  • Activities on ASF preparedness 

View the update

Key facts and factsheets
  • ASF does NOT affect public health or food safety, i.e. pork meat is safe for consumers to eat. 

  • Given the disease-free status of the Australian pig herd, ASF will devastate the Australian herd if it is introduced. 

  • The most significant risk of entry of ASF virus into Australia is via illegally imported contaminated pork products that are swill fed to domestic pigs or accessed by feral pigs. 

  • Swill feeding, or the feeding of pork products (including pet food) to pigs, is prohibited in Australia.  

  • There are currently no vaccines available to treat ASF. 

  • ASF affects all age groups of pigs. 

  • It is difficult to diagnose ASF based on clinical signs or lesions because of its similarity with other haemorrhagic diseases. 

  • Experience from overseas shows that an ASF eradication programme requires destruction of infected and close contact pigs. 
     

What you can do

If you’re a pig producer or pig keeper, it's critical that you help prevent ASF from entering, or spreading, in Australia. To learn more about biosecurity and ASF, visit our resource library.

You can also find the everyday tools to implement biosecurity practices in the National Farm Biosecurity Reference Manual for Pork Production at Animal Health Australia.

If there was an outbreak

Each Australian state and territory has their own biosecurity regulations and plan to prevent ASF.  
 
If there was an outbreak of ASF, your state or territory government would lead and implement an emergency response according to its biosecurity legislation. This may involve: 

  • Stopping all pigs movements including: 

  • Abattoirs 

  • Vehicles   

  • Restriction of staff or visitors to the farm or abattoir.  

 
Note: a state and territory response would be guided by the AUSVETPLAN. The AUSVETPLAN ASF is a national approach that APL and other pork industry representatives have been involved in developing and reviewing.