African Swine Fever (ASF) is a highly contagious and deadly swine disease that can affect both farm-raised and feral (wild) pigs. ASF doesn’t infect people, but it is readily passed from one pig to another by direct contact with bodily fluids from an infected pig. The practice of feeding uncooked food waste (that has not been appropriately heat treated) to pigs can also result in transmission of the virus if the food waste being fed to pigs contains contaminated pork products.
Fortunately, ASF has never been found in the United States – and we want to keep it that way. ASF has caused significant pig losses around the world in places such as sub-Saharan Africa, China, Mongolia, Vietnam, as well as within parts of the European Union.
The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA)’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) oversees the prevention, surveillance, and control of Foreign Animal Diseases, including ASF. FDA is the primary U.S. government agency responsible for regulating and overseeing the animal food supply. We have been in close collaboration with USDA-APHIS to support efforts to protect pigs in the U.S. from ASF, while we monitor the animal food supply as a potential pathway for the ASF virus to infect pigs.
It’s critical to our success to block the ASF virus on multiple fronts. Work is ongoing to develop multiple mitigation strategies such as a vaccine to prevent ASF, drugs to treat sick pigs, and virus mitigants that could be included in animal food. While USDA has oversight over any vaccine to prevent ASF, FDA has the regulatory authority to evaluate any animal drug intended to treat ASF or any ASF virus mitigant intended to be added to animal food.
Preventing ASF infection and spread, as well as finding treatments for infections that may occur, are key priorities for the U.S. government, pig producers, animal drug and feed industries, and academia. FDA’s Center for Veterinary Medicine is committed to working with sponsors to help facilitate the development and approval of products intended to prevent ASF infection and spread. Both new animal drugs and animal food additives require pre-market review and approval by the FDA prior to being legally marketed. Because there are several regulatory pathways to consider, we encourage sponsors interested in bringing such products to the marketplace to consult with our experts by emailing AskCVM@fda.hhs.gov.
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