African swine fever

African swine fever


In this article:
  • Find answers to frequently asked questions about African swine fever.
  • Learn about methods to prevent the spread of African swine fever.
  • See reporting guidelines and procedures.
  • Discover how companion animal veterinarians play a role in detection and mitigation.

African swine fever (ASF) is a severe viral disease affecting domestic and wild pigs. It’s usually fatal, and no treatment or vaccine is available. Prevention is key to keeping pigs safe. Good biosecurity practices are critical, and all veterinary professionals – including those who treat only companion animals – should be vigilant to assist in detection and prevention.

African swine fever doesn’t infect other animals or people, and it poses no public health threat. Pork remains safe to eat. However, widespread outbreaks of ASF drive up pork prices and could lead to a global pork shortage.

Report African swine fever immediately

If African swine fever is suspected, any pig owner (including those with minipigs and pot-bellied pigs) should immediately quarantine their animal or herd and call their state or federal animal health official.

You may also call USDA APHIS Veterinary Services National Center for Animal Health Emergency Management at 800-940-6524 for 24/7 assistance.

As with all highly contagious foreign animal diseases, timeliness is critical. The more quickly an outbreak is detected, the more quickly it can be contained and mitigated.

Travel and animal importation


Any person returning to the United States from a country where African swine fever has been detected should:

  • Declare any overseas farm visits to U.S. Customs when returning.
  • Only bring back safe items.
  • Wait at least five days before entering a farm or any other location where pigs are found. This includes livestock markets, zoos, circuses, and pet stores with minipigs or pot-bellied pigs.
Importing animals, including pets

Many pets and other animals, including swine, are brought to America from countries where African swine fever has been detected. Farmers should consult with a veterinarian before allowing imported animals on their properties, including pets. 
When animals come from areas or countries where African swine fever has been detected, these protocols should be followed:

  • Bathe animals as soon as they reach their destination.
  • Keep animals separate from all livestock for at least five days after they enter the United States. The legal requirement may vary from state to state, so you should confirm the timeframe with your state animal health official.
  • Sanitize crates, bedding, and other material that accompanies imported animals.
  • Inquire about the animal’s travel history, and verify that all appropriate importation regulations are followed for dogs or other animals brought into the country.
Additional measures

Mixed animal veterinarians who care for both pets and swine should be careful to follow sanitation measures such as handwashing, bathing, and/or using sanitary coverings when moving between work with pets and pig farms. This includes sanitizing all equipment.

Veterinarians should exercise similar precautions if working with pets that recently have consumed pig ears or other pork products sourced from a country where African swine fever has been detected.

The veterinary profession has a responsibility to animals throughout their lives. In the event that affected animals need to be depopulated or euthanized, the AVMA’s guidelines on euthanasia, depopulation, and slaughter protect animal’s welfare at the end of life. View the guidelines: