Brazil Ag Ministry reveals contingency plan for African swine fever

The Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Supply (MAPA) presents the Contingency Plan for African Swine Fever with the principles, strategies and procedures for the containment and eradication of outbreaks of African Swine Fever (ASF). The document was prepared by the Animal Health Department of the Agricultural Defense Department, with the contribution of different agents of the Brazilian official veterinary service, teaching and research institutions and entities representing the private sector (production and industry).

In the event of ASF occurrence in Brazil, a state of zoosanitary emergency will be declared by MAPA and the activities described in the contingency plans would be put into motion, in view of the condition of a country free of the disease and the serious economic and social consequences arising.

African swine fever is a viral disease that poses no risk to human health but can decimate swine herds as it is highly transmissible. In Brazil, the last outbreak of the disease was recorded in 1981, and the country was declared free of ASF on December 5, 1984. To-date, there is no vaccine with proven efficacy against ASF.

Simulated animal health emergency exercise

In order to exercise the content of the plan, including the responsibilities and attributions of the different actors involved, MAPA and Companhia Integrada de Desenvolvimento Agrícola de Santa Catarina (Cidasc), with the support of the state private sector, will carry out a simulated exercise of action in the event of an African swine fever outbreak from 19 to 26 November.

During the exercise, a Zoosanitary Emergency Operations Center will be installed, so that participants can practice the organization and technical procedures such as surveillance and clinical and epidemiological investigation, biosecurity, collection and sending of samples for laboratory diagnosis, elimination of outbreaks, cleaning and disinfection of facilities and control and inspection of vehicle traffic in the region, as well as the use of software for data collection and processing and information management. Planning activities, proposing a containment zone and risk communication activities will also be carried out.

Approximately 180 employees of the official veterinary service (SVO) from the 27 units of the Federation will participate in this simulation, in addition to representatives of the Civil Defense, Military Police, Federal Highway Police, Brazilian Army, private initiative, the World Organization for Animal Health (WOAH) and of the SVO of neighboring countries.

“The simulated exercise aims to test the contingency plan and prepare participants for the organization of the chain of command and compliance with the protocols that must be adopted in a real situation of occurrence of African Swine Fever, minimizing its economic and social impacts," said the director of the Animal Health Department, Geraldo Moraes.

The director also stressed that “sanitary measures are used for all emergency diseases, such as classical swine fever, foot-and-mouth disease and avian influenza, as the protocols are similar and the emergency character is the same.”