Swine Fever Vaccine Years Away
Swine fever is spreading across China and through Asia, crippling China's hog industry.
To keep it from spreading to the US, the USDA plans wide testing of American pigs for African swine fever this spring.
Greg Ibach is with the USDA and recently told congress, the move is part of a new surveillance program that will closely monitor for signs of the virus reaching the United States, which could devastate the country's $20 billion pork industry.
"An enhanced surveillance program will serve as an early warning system, helping us find any potential disease much more quickly," said Greg Ibach, Undersecretary for Marketing and Regulatory Programs, in a release. "It will also minimize virus spread and support efforts to restore trade markets and animal movements as quickly as possible should the disease be detected."
When Ibach says "restore trade markets," he's alluding to the fact that the U.S. is a major pork exporter, accounting for nearly 27 percent of global pork production exports in 2017, according to the U.S. Meat Export Association. If swine fever was detected here, those exports could come crashing down. Those effects could ripple out as China, the world's largest pork consumer, has been snapping up American pork since its domestic supply has been depleted.