COVID-19 creates African swine fever response challenges

COVID-19: African swine fever response challenge

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COVID-19 restrictions would affect the way industry and government could respond to an outbreak of African swine fever.

COVID-19 restrictions would affect the way industry and government could respond to an outbreak of African swine fever.

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COVID-19 restrictions would affect the way industry and government could respond to an outbreak of African swine fever.

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CURRENT COVID-19 restrictions would affect the way industry and government could respond to an outbreak of African swine fever.

The warning comes from Agriculture Minister Mark Furner, who says the detection of ASF in Papua New Guinea's Southern Highlands Province heightened the risk of the exotic disease to Queensland's pork industry.

However, Mr Furner said Biosecurity Queensland had considered the current restrictions and was prepared and ready to respond working within the requirements.

"As COVID-19 is significantly impacting how we all go about our daily lives, the early detection and reporting of African swine fever is critical to stopping the spread of this disease," Mr Furner said.

"It is crucial that all pigs, domestic and feral, must not have access to meat or food contaminated by meat. Food scraps and waste should be disposed of in a secure bin so pigs can't access and eat it.

Mr Furner said if ASF became established in Queensland it would be difficult to eradicate and could significantly impact pork availability, jobs and the economy.

"People illegally bringing pigs or pork products into Australia could introduce African swine fever, threatening our pork industry," Mr Furner said.

"While people can't be infected with African swine fever, it can easily be spread between pigs and can be spread on people's boots and clothing if not cleaned correctly."

There is no treatment or vaccine for African swine fever and in its most severe form it can kill 100 per cent of infected pigs.

Emergency Animal Disease Watch Hotline: 1800 675 888.

MORE READING: 'Pork industry alert: African swine fever hits PNG'.

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