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Despite COVID-19 Challenges ASF Preparedness Advances
Dr. Egan Brockhoff - Canadian Pork Council

Farmscape for July 16, 2020

The Veterinary Counsel with the Canadian Pork Council suggests, amid the turmoil surrounding COVID-19, the risk posed to the North American swine sector by African Swine Fever has decreased.
Although African Swine Fever continues to spread throughout the regions in which it has been reported, North America remains ASF-free.
Dr. Egan Brockhoff, the Veterinary Counsel with the Canadian Pork Council and a member of the Swine Innovation Pork Coordinated African Swine Fever Research Working Group, observes COVID appears have slowed human movement of ASF.

Clip-Dr. Egan Brockhoff-Canadian Pork Council:
We think the level of risk to North America has gone down because there have been fewer travelers entering the country from infected zones.
We look at other things though like feed ingredient risk.
We just published a paper here recently on that.
There's no question there's still other avenues for the virus to enter the country and contaminated feed ingredients remain one of those.
In the face of COVID, we've always spoken about the importance of biosecurity when we bring people into pig barns.
COVID, in many ways, gave us an opportunity to dust off some of those biosecurity protocols with respect to bringing people into the barns and to probably take a closer look at how we handle employees that maybe had flu-like symptoms, weren't feeling top drawer that day and closely review how we handle that.
We've had a lot of influenza prevention protocols in place for years and so COVID-19 probably gave us a chance to understand what it takes to protect the pigs from a new angle and I think that brings a lot of value to our biosecurity conversation.

Dr. Brockhoff notes, even in the face of COVID-19 and all the challenges our federal-provincial governments have gone through, we've still seen a steady amount of activity on ASF preparedness.
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Bruce Cochrane.


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