September 3, 2021, US Virgin Islands – The Virgin Islands Department of Agriculture (VIDA) announces that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has confirmed African Swine Fever in pigs in the Dominican Republic. African Swine Fever is a debilitating and deadly disease of pigs that can wipe out whole herds of pigs. Humans or other animals are not affected and do not become sick.
The immediate concern about African Swine Fever is the transmission of this disease into the United States through Puerto Rico or the US Virgin Islands. An outbreak in our Territory or Puerto Rico would not only decimate local pigs but would severely and negatively affect international agricultural trade for the United States.
VIDA is asking all pig farmers to improve biosecurity on their farms to protect their pigs. Farmer should boil all food scraps before feeding, not allow visitors, especially recent travelers, onto the farms, and not let pigs roam off their property. If any pigs look sick, farmers should call Veterinary Services or the USDA immediately.
Travelers to and from foreign ports, especially the Dominican Republic, should avoid bringing meat products into the USVI.
Dr. Bethany Bradford, Director of Veterinary Services for VIDA, said VIDA is working closely with the USDA. She explained that USDA has implemented various measures in USVI and Puerto Rico:
- Increased disease surveillance and biosecurity of pig herds and enhanced education of pig farmers
- Increased scrutiny and inspection of passengers and cargo arriving from foreign ports
- Increased education of the traveling public, especially those from the Dominican Republic, to discourage travelers from bringing meat products into the USVI or Puerto Rico
- Restriction of movement of live swine or products to the US mainland
For more information about protecting pigs in the USVI contact the VIDA’s Veterinary Services teams on St. Croix at (340) 642-7320 or St. Thomas at (340) 774-5182 or St. John at (340) 423-9022 or visit the USDA APHIS site online at bit.ly/2WMD7ao (this link is cAsE sEnSiTiVe).