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Coronavirus and ASF – some interesting biosecurity parallels
Pig Industry Calendar of Events
APIQ Stakeholder Communication Meetings – Australia
FEB 10 – 2:30-4:30, Young NSW FEB 12 – 2:30-4:30, Auburn SA
FEB 13 – 3:00-5:00, Murray Bridge SA FEB 18 – 3:00-5:00, Murgon QLD
FEB 19 – 2:30-5:00, Toowoomba QLD For more information, visit au/2019-apiq_-major-review or call Heather Channon 0423 056 045
FEB 12-13 – Missouri Pork Expo, Missouri, US events/missouri-pork-expo-2
MAR 31- APR 1 – London Swine Conference, Ontario, Canada www.
APR 21-22 – Dutch Pork Expo, Netherlands en
MAY 12-13 British Pig and Poultry Fair Warwickshire, UK www.
JUN 3-5 – World Pork Expo, Iowa, US
JUN 9-11 – Agritech West Africa 2020, Accra, Ghana www.
JUN 9-11 – Alberta Pork Congress, Alberta, Canada albertaporkcongress. com
How to supply event details: Send all details to Australian Pork Newspaper, PO Box 387, Cleveland, Qld 4163, call 07 3286 1833 fax: 07 3821 2637, email:
07 3286 1833
WITH the increasing accessibility and afford- ability of global travel, the number of Austral- ians travelling overseas almost doubled over the past 10 years to five mil- lion trips annually.
Australia has also en- joyed significant in- creases in international visitors, receiving 8.5 million visitors in 2018, which has positive im- pacts on our economy.
However, overseas air- line travel contributes to the rapid spread of virus- es and diseases globally, so increased diligence is required by everyone.
In relation to human disease, this is cur- rently being observed with the outbreak of the 2019 novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV acute res- piratory disease).
The coronavirus is like- ly to have originated from a seafood and poultry market in Wuhan, China, with details of the source or how frequent human to human transmission oc- curs still being worked through.
It is thought to be spread between people by respir- atory droplets in the air.
As at February 3, 2020, the nCoV has infected over 17,000 people and killed at least 360 people in China.
In comparison to nCoV, African swine fever af- fects all age groups of pigs and is more stable, more transmissible and harder to eradicate from the environment once it has been introduced.
So, it is important high levels of biosecurity and good personal hygiene are maintained – every- one has responsibility for this.
The new coronavi- rus outbreak has been declared by the World Health Organization as a Public Health Emergency of International Concern.
An expert at China’s National Health Com- mission, Zhong Nanshan, identified quarantine as the most effective way to stop the virus being transmitted – the Aus- tralian Government has arranged for Australian citizens and permanent residents in Wuhan to be housed in quarantine at Christmas Island for 14 days prior to returning to the Australian mainland.
It has also led to the Australian Government imposing travel restric- tions, self-isolation if people were in mainland China on or after Febru- ary 1, 2020 and advising visitors from mainland China who are not Aus- tralian citizens or perma- nent residents or their de- pendants that they cannot enter Australia.
Direct flights to Aus- tralia from China are also being cancelled and sus- pended.
I thought it may be in- teresting to provide some
comparison of the two viruses.
Unlike ASF, which has a DNA genome, nCoV has an RNA genome, which allows the virus to mutate and change, very similar to influenza vi- ruses.
The nCoV is geneti- cally and antigenically different to both porcine epidemic diarrhoea vi- rus (PEDv) and porcine deltacoronavirus, which Australia remains free from.
There is also no evi- dence that nCoV has come from pigs or infects pigs.
If this situation with coronavirus and the en- demic status of ASF in China is not enough for the Chinese authorities to deal with, a highly patho- genic strain of the H5N1 avian influenza has just been reported in China’s Hunan province, accord- ing to China’s Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs.
It has been reported that nearly 18,000 chickens have been culled, with 4500 chickens dying from H5N1 avian influ- enza.
As advised by the WHO, H5N1 virus does not easily infect humans and being spread from person to person is unu- sual.
However, there is a risk for sporadic infection and small clusters of human cases due to human expo- sure to infected poultry or contaminated environ- ments.
All of this emphasises the critical importance of having high biosecurity practices in place – at the border, on-farm and by partners supporting pork businesses.
Australia is very fortu- nate to be free of many global pig viruses and diseases, including ASF.
This position is not taken for granted – we do have the strongest science-based biosecurity protocols in the world and our risk analyses fol- low WTO rules.
Our industry is being well supported by the Australian Government,
who announced addition- al biosecurity funding of $66.6 million to address the significant impacts of ASF on the Australian pork industry.
This funding is sup- porting more biosecurity officers post-border, six new detector dogs and two new 3D X-ray ma- chines in the internation- al mail centres in Sydney and Melbourne.
Further, the Govern- ment has provided $1.4 million over 3.5 years to Australian Pork Limited to support a national fe- ral pig co-ordinator posi- tion to develop a national action plan for feral pig management.
Industry is also repre- sented on the joint ASF task force groups that were set up in October 2019 to address policy gaps and provide recom- mendations to the Ani- mal Health Committee for their next meeting in March 2020.
The AUSVETPLAN for ASF will then be final- ised.
These task groups are: Operationalising ASF AUSVETPLAN; Permits and movements; Destruc- tion, disposal and decon- tamination; Processing; and Feral pigs.
A sincere thank you to all those who are in- volved – your expertise, contributions, ideas, time and support are greatly appreciated.
Continued attention and focus on your biosecurity protocols is still required so we don’t take the ‘ped- al off the metal’ in re- lation to preventing any exotic disease incursions entering the Australian pig herd.
Dr Jonathan Taylor from the Department of Agriculture told attend- ees at the ASF workshop in Kingaroy on January 31, 2020 that a national decision has been made in Timor Leste that ASF will not be eradicated and will be endemic – heeding that ‘the price of peace is eternal vigi- lance’.
APL is building our relationships with those working in feral pig man-
agement, including pig doggers, state agencies and research providers and these will be further enhanced once the na- tional feral pig co-ordi- nator commences.
Good biosecurity prac- tices rely on three key principles; physical seg- regation, cleaning (by removing contamination) and disinfection (to kill any remaining virus) and should be practised re- lentlessly.
If you, or anyone you know, are coming into contact with your pigs after recently returning from overseas travel, is feeling unwell or showing flu-like symptoms, please take the appropriate pre- cautions to keep your pigs safe.
These protocols should also be documented within your biosecurity management plan (that describes how you are preventing the introduc- tion and spread of pests, diseases, weeds and con- taminants on and from your property) and fol- lowed diligently by eve- ryone entering onto your farm, without exception.
Many parallels can also be drawn from the im- pact of travel restrictions that have been made in response to curtailing the spread of nCoV into Australia to pork busi- nesses in the event of an outbreak of ASF in Aus- tralia.
Many businesses al- ready experiencing sig- nificant financial stress due to the unprecedented severe bushfire season re- stricting visitor numbers during their peak season now also face additional pressures as a result of reduced international visitors.
How prepared is your business to survive an emergency animal dis- ease outbreak?
If you have not writ- ten your plan, I strongly urge you to have a look at resources that will walk you through a list to stim- ulate your thinking.
Download the 30-min- ute plan for piggeries at au/30min-EADOP-pigs or visit farmbiosecurity. emergency-disease-out- break to download the full EAD risk manage- ment planning guide to assist you with preparing a risk management plan for an EAD outbreak.
It really is important to think through your plan and write it down during ‘peacetime’ so it is avail- able and ready to go if the
unthinkable occurs.
If you have prepared your business continuity plan, when did you last review it, test it and re-
vise it?
The same question is al-
so very relevant for your biosecurity plan.
If you don’t know where to start, please reach out and we are only too hap- py to assist with pointing you in the right direction.
Some factors to con- sider for preparing your business continuity plan include:
• Overnight closures of markets;
• Loss of supply con- tracts;
• Movement restrictions on livestock, products, feed, people and equip- ment;
by HEATHER CHANNON Research and Innovation General Manager
• Implementing
control activities requir- ing your time, equipment and other resources;
• Media and public scru- tiny;
• On-farm disposal plans – regulator feedback on proposed site selection;
• Disruptions to busi- nesses supplying inputs into your business;
• How you’ll deal with loss of income and/or staff;
• Cash flow issues;
• Access to finance and relationships with ac- countants and legal ser- vices;
• Stress management and mental health; and
• What your recovery plan would be.
Finally, industry con- sultations to inform the A PIQP major review have now commenced.
APIQP certified pro- ducers, processors, trans- porters, retailers, govern- ment officers and envi- ronmental consultants are welcome to attend.
Antimicrobial resist- ance, biosecurity, audit frequency and a simpli- fied QA system for small producers were the key issues discussed at the first meeting.
Details of the face to face meetings being held in NSW, South Australia and Queensland are pro- vided below.
I encourage you all to participate and provide your input.
If you are unable to at- tend and want to provide your feedback, please email: apiqreview@ or call Tracey Edwards on 0410 824 288.
For further information, please do not hesitate to contact me on 0423 056 045 or heather.channon@
All producers are encouraged
to send in letters to be published in APN, outlining any concerns
or issues they may have with the industry.
This is an open forum where you can cover any topic, whether for or against an issue.
Please send your letters to: or PO Box 387, Cleveland QLD 4163
Monday, February 10
Young Services Club, Young NSW
2:30-4:30 pm
Wednesday, February 12
The Rising Sun Hotel, Auburn SA
2:30-4:30 pm
Thursday, February 13
Rydges Pit Lane Hotel, Murray Bridge SA
3:00-5:00 pm
Tuesday, February 18
The Australian Hotel, Murgon QLD
3:00-5:00 pm
Wednesday, February 19
Platinum International Toowoomba QLD
2:30-5:00 pm
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Page 2 – Australian Pork Newspaper, February 2020

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