African swine fever

African swine fever has been confirmed in countries close to Australia including Timor Leste.

Travellers, pig owners and hunters should follow the advice below.

African swine fever (ASF) is a highly contagious disease of pigs. It doesn't affect human health.

An ASF outbreak in Australia would have a serious impact on the pork and agriculture industries.

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ASF spreads easily by direct contact between affected pigs or by exposure to contaminated items including:

  • feed
  • feed ingredients
  • equipment
  • vehicles
  • clothing and footwear.

It can also be spread through meat from infected animals.

The virus survives under most environmental conditions and is resistant to most disinfectants. It is not inactivated by freezing or heat less than 100 degrees celsius.

The most likely way ASF can enter Australia is through international travel and mail.

Declare goods when entering Australia

You must declare certain food, animal products and plant material when arriving in Australia.

If you don't declare goods that may risk Australia’s biosecurity, you could be fined or prosecuted.

Check your mail

Don't order animal or food products containing meat from overseas though the mail.

You must make a report if you receive international mail that contains meat or animal products. Do this on the Australian Government's Department of Agriculture website.

You should take precautions to keep Australia free from ASF.

Don't feed swill to pigs

Food that contains meat or meat products, or that has had contact with meat or meat products, is known as swill.

It is illegal to feed swill to pigs.

You can feed your pigs:

  • commercially prepared pig feeds
  • grains
  • fruit and vegetables that have not had contact with meat
  • Australian milk and by-products.

To find out more read the Agnote on prohibited pig feed (159.4 kb).

Get a property identification code

You must register a property identification code (PIC) if you own pigs.

It is free to get a PIC and can be done online.

The PIC system allows animals to be easily traced if an animal disease outbreak takes place.

Failure to register a PIC can incur penalties.

Check for signs of disease

You should report any signs of disease immediately by calling the Emergency Animal Disease Hotline on 1800 675 888.

Symptoms of ASF include:

  • sudden death
  • high fever and loss of appetite
  • lethargy
  • skin reddening
  • blueness of extremities (including ears)
  • bloody diarrhoea
  • vomiting
  • abortions.

Find your nearest government vet.

Complete a waybill if your pigs move

If you plan to move your pigs, you must complete an NT waybill.

This is an official record of livestock movement, which will allow a biosecurity response team to track animals in the event of an outbreak.

Protect your pigs from disease

You can minimise biosecurity threats by taking simple measures to protect the health of your pigs and restrict the spread of an outbreak.

Find resources to help keep your farm and pigs clean on the farm biosecurity website.

You can help keep the Territory clean by following simple biosecurity measures when you are out hunting.

  • Clean and disinfect all equipment on site.
  • Clean and bag all carcasses before leaving the hunting area.
  • Report any signs of sick or dead pigs by calling the Emergency Animal Disease Hotline on 1800 675 888.
  • Respect all quarantines and restrictions that are in place.
  • Don't leave food scraps from your meals in hunting areas.
  • Don't hunt wild pigs if you are in contact with domestic pigs.
  • Don't move live animals to new locations without completing an NT waybill.
  • Don't travel with exposed carcasses in the back of a ute.

If ASF is detected in Australia, the Australian Veterinary Emergency Plan would be used to guide the emergency response to the disease.

The only way that ASF can be eradicated is through early detection and containment.

You can find out more on the Animal Health Australia website.

Last updated: 04 October 2019

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