African Swine Fever is Getting Too Close for Comfort

A Google map of the Caribbean Ocean showing the distance from the island of Hispaniola to the southern tip of Florida.

About 20 percent of Vermont dairy farms raise pigs as well as dairy cows. Ninety percent of these farms raise pigs seasonally, and their health concerns may not be a priority for farmers. However, there is growing concern about the global spread of African swine fever (ASF), a deadly foreign animal disease (FAD) of pigs that was identified in two Caribbean countries during 2021.

Keeley Parrish, a UVM Animal and Veterinary Sciences (ASCI) undergraduate student and intern for ASCI Research Associate Professor Julie Smith, recently wrote about African swine fever in an article entitled, “Too Close for Comfort: African Swine Fever Identified in Haiti & the Dominican Republic.” This devastating FAD of pigs has not been found in the United States yet, but the Caribbean island outbreak should be a warning about the possibility.

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