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News > Dominican Republic

Swine Fever Risks Food Security In The Americas, Experts Warn

  • Pigs are raised for livestock.

    Pigs are raised for livestock. | Photo: Twitter/ @caribbeannewsuk

Published 8 October 2021
Opinion

This highly infectious disease affects domestic and wild pigs and can cause death between 2 and 10 days after infection. So far, there is no vaccine to fight it.

On Friday, the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA) warned that African swine fever’s emergence in the Dominican Republic and Haiti in July risks food security in the Americas.

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"This disease can cause severe losses of pigs to our countries, as happened previously in China," the IICA director Lloyd Day stated and urged Latin American governments to unite for implementing preventive measures.

"The education and training of cattle producers are essential in this regard," Day added and assured that his institution will continue to work together with regional actors to implement programs aimed at guaranteeing food security.

African swine fever is a highly infectious hemorrhagic disease that affects domestic and wild pigs and can cause death between 2 and 10 days after infection. So far, there is no vaccine to fight it.

Although humans cannot get this disease, they can carry it in clothes, shoes, or livestock instruments. Therefore, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines' Agriculture Ministry spokesperson Monica Davis urged travelers not to transport pigs or pork products and producers to take more stringent biosecurity measures.

She also warned that swine fever puts at risk the livelihoods of producers since it triggers restrictions on the countries where it has spread and affects international trade.

In the Americas, the disease had last been detected in 1980 in Cuba, where the U.S. introduced it as part of its biological war against the revolutionary government. On that occasion, Cuban ranchers had to sacrifice 296,537 animals to contain the spread of the virus, which caused losses of US$50 million.

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