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Map of Caribbean Sea islands

Map source:  OIE-WAHIS

August 26, 2021 – statement from USDA APHIS on the establishment of protection zones

As part of its continuing efforts to respond to the detection of African Swine Fever (ASF) in the Dominican Republic (DR) and prevent its introduction into the Conterminous United States, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) is preparing to establish a Foreign Animal Disease protection zone in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.  ASF has not been detected in Puerto Rico or the U.S. Virgin Islands, and USDA is committed to keeping it out of both islands and the rest of the United States.   Out of an abundance of caution, APHIS is taking this additional action to further safeguard the U.S. swine herd and protect the interests and livelihoods of U.S. pork producers.

The World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) provides for the establishment of a protection zone within an area free of disease, as a temporary measure in response to an increased risk from a neighboring country or zone of different animal health status.  APHIS has concluded that this is a prudent course of action in response to the detection of ASF in the DR.  Once the OIE recognizes the protection zone(s), APHIS will work to confirm that individual countries recognize and accept the zone(s). Their recognition will ensure the continued flow of U.S. pork and live swine exports.

When the protection zone is established, APHIS will have processes in place in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands to: restrict movement of live swine and products out of the protection zone; conduct appropriate surveillance within the protection zone to quickly detect introductions of disease; conduct a public education campaign relating to biosecurity on farms and other establishments, prohibitions on movement of live swine and products outside the region, contacting authorities to report clinical cases, and similar actions. 

APHIS has been actively working with DR officials to assist in their response to the ASF detection, including: offering technical advice and assistance on surveillance, quarantine, depopulation, and disposal methods; providing continued testing support, including bolstering in-country testing capacity; and providing additional personal protective equipment for responders.  Although ASF has not been confirmed in Haiti, APHIS is offering the country similar support.

APHIS is confident that its many existing preventive measures and mitigations, along with the additional measures underway and announced today, will protect our livestock industry from ASF and ensure the continued export of pork.

July 28, 2021 –  notice from the USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) confirmed the presence of African swine fever in the Dominican Republic

Below is an excerpt from the announcement:

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Foreign Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory has confirmed African swine fever (ASF) in samples collected from pigs in the Dominican Republic through an existing cooperative surveillance program.  

USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) has numerous interlocking safeguards in place to prevent ASF from entering the United States. Pork and pork products from the Dominican Republic are currently prohibited entry as a result of existing classical swine fever restrictions. Additionally, the Department of Homeland Security’s Customs and Border Protection (CBP) is increasing inspections of flights from the Dominican Republic to ensure travelers do not bring prohibited products to the United States. CBP will also be ensuring that garbage from these airplanes are properly disposed of to prevent the transmission of ASF.

USDA is committed to assisting the Dominican Republic in dealing with ASF, is offering continued testing support, and will consult with them on additional steps or actions to support response and mitigation measures. We will also offer similar help to Haiti, which borders the Dominican Republic and is at high risk for ASF detections.

The OIE-WAHIS (World Organization for Animal Health-World Animal Health Information System) tracks animal disease outbreaks worldwide, and maintains a searchable, online databaseOpens a new window and maps for animal disease events. Use this database to search for all occurrences of ASF, including the Dominican Republic outbreak.

ASF is considered a foreign animal diseaseOpens a new window (FAD) and has had a persistent presence in the sub-Saharan region of Africa; the disease was first identified there during the early 20th century. Since 2007, ASF has been reported in multiple countries across Africa, Asia, and Europe, in both domestic and wild pigs (Spickler, 2019). Although ASF has not been found in the United States, its presence in the Caribbean is concerning for swine producers.

Whether U.S. swine producers are operating large, concentrated facilities or raising pigs on a small farm, they should prepare for a potential future introduction of ASF here, or any other FAD. A useful resource created by the National Pork Board, The U.S. Pork Industry Guide to the Secure Pork Supply Plan (PDF)Opens a new window serves as a practical guide for swine producers to prepare a secure food supply plan, with steps for practicing every day biosecurity.


Spickler, Anna Rovid. 2019. African Swine Fever. [PDF]. Retrieved from a new window

USDA Statement on Confirmation of African Swine Fever in the Dominican Republic. July, 2021. Retrieved from a new window

Joanna Cummings received a Bachelor of Science in Horticulture from The Pennsylvania State University (PSU), with a specialization in vegetable crop and greenhouse production. At PSU, she was a research technician on no-tillage vegetable crop experiments, and a greenhouse assistant in the All-American Selections Research Gardens. Her career in the agriculture industry includes field research, work with dairy and vegetable farms, and as a greenhouse manager, estate gardener, landscaper and market garden entrepreneur. She transitioned to the science communication field after receiving a master of science degree in environmental communications from Antioch University New England. At Antioch, Joanna was a field botany laboratory teaching assistant, manager of the herbarium, and editor of the department's student newsletter, Notes and Niches.

She currently works with Research Professor and Secure Food Supply New England Director Julie M. Smith as a communications professional in the University of Vermont Animal and Veterinary Sciences Department. She is the webmaster for the Secure Agriculture website.

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