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Media Release - Appointment of Acting CEO - 04.05.2022



African swine fever (ASF) is a highly contagious disease that effects domestic and wild pigs. It is caused by the ASF virus. It is not zoonotic (a pathogen that can transfer between animals and humans). It is highly stable and can persist for weeks to months in carcasses, faeces and pork products.

Over the past two years, ASF has spread across the Asian mainland and island countries, including Timor-Leste, Indonesia and Papua New Guinea (PNG).

If ASF were to enter and establish amongst the feral pig population there is a risk that they may play the role of a reservoir of the virus, putting domestic piggeries at risk in southern Australia.

Potential pathways

The virus could potentially enter northern Australia via risk pathways including:

• via PNG and movement of infected products through Torres Strait.

• leakage through regulated pathways

- cargo and postage

- via ports – airports and seaports

• washed up debris from international vessels – including commercial cargo vessels, illegal vessels and itinerant yachts

Potential scenarios for exposure

Potential scenarios that may result in Australian pigs being exposed to the virus include:

• swill feeding domesticated pigs (less likely in intensive piggery operations, more likely peri-urban/smallholder/hobby farm piggeries)

• feral pig scavenging on human food waste

• feral pig scavenging on marine debris along coastline

• a live, infected pig moving from PNG to Torres Strait

• a domestic/feral pig being exposed to contaminated fomites.


• African swine fever (ASF) is killing lots of pigs in other countries.

• African swine fever has been confirmed in Papua New Guinea

• Only pigs get sick with ASF. Humans and other animals can’t get sick with ASF.

• The virus can be found in meat products from other countries.

• If pigs eat meat scraps (swill) they can get ASF and other diseases.

• Pigs should not eat rubbish.

• Feeding swill to pigs is illegal in Australia.

• Pigs with ASF might show these signs:

- sudden death

- bleeding

- vomiting

- diarrhoea

- coughing

- wobbly walking

- strange behaviour.

• Keep a Top Watch for African swine fever.

• Keep a Top Watch. Meat makes pigs sick.

• Keep a Top Watch for sick or dead pigs.

• If you see sick or dead pigs, tell a biosecurity officer, ranger, vet or call the Emergency Animal Disease Watch Hotline on 1800 675 888.




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