African swine fever has been detected in Papua New Guinea (Photo: DEPI)
Agricultural Industry Development Minister Mark Furner

April 7, 2020

Biosecurity Queensland is accelerating critical preparedness activities following the detection of African swine fever in the Southern Highlands province of Papua New Guinea.

Agricultural Industry Development Minister Mark Furner said the detection put Queensland at the front line of this exotic pig disease and heightened the risk to the state’s pork industry.

“Biosecurity Queensland has been on the front foot in the fight against African swine fever and continues to work to with the Australian Government and the pig industry to provide a united front against African swine fever,” Mr Furner said.

“Australia is free from African swine fever and we want to keep it that way.

“If African swine fever became established in Queensland it would be difficult to eradicate and could significantly impact pork availability, jobs and the economy.

“That is why African swine fever prevention and preparedness remains a priority for Queensland and if it is detected here, we will respond.”

Mr Furner said the confirmation of African swine fever in Papua New Guinea was a reminder that this disease remained a serious threat.

“Given Papua New Guinea is one of our nearest neighbours and the large feral pig population in Far North Queensland, people need to be aware of how they can help reduce the risk of African swine fever,” Mr Furner said.

“People illegally bringing pigs or pork products into Australia could introduce African swine fever, threatening our pork industry.

“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.

Mr Furner said extra vigilance was required in the fight against African swine fever due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“If African swine fever enters Australia, COVID-19 restrictions would affect the way industry and government responds,” Mr Furner said.

Biosecurity Queensland has considered the current restrictions and is prepared to respond working within the requirements.

“It is crucial that all pigs, domestic and feral, must not have access to meat or food contaminated by meat,” Mr Furner said.

“Food scraps and waste should be disposed of in a secure bin so pigs can’t access and eat it.

“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.

“If you suspect your pets, farmed pigs or feral pigs have African swine fever, you must report it immediately to the Emergency Animal Disease Watch Hotline on 1800 675 888.”

More information about African swine fever is available online.

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