Although Taiwan is currently a disease-free area for African swine fever, 13 neighboring Asian countries have had outbreaks of this disease. In order to help Taichung pig raisers better recognize African swine fever, prevent disease outbreaks, strengthen correct knowledge of biosafety measures against hog cholera, and thereby reduce economic losses to the livestock industry, the Health Inspection Office held an awareness meeting on March 26. The Office also invited Prof. Guo Hung-chih of the Department of Veterinary Medicine, National Chiayi University to speak on the topic of "African swine fever's current state of spread and the importance of hog cholera prevention" at the meeting.
According to the Health Inspection Office, African swine fever and hog cholera are both highly contagious virulent diseases of pigs caused by viruses. The chief difference between them is that hog cholera is caused by a flavivirus—an RNA virus—while African swine fever is caused by an asfivirus—a DNA virus. To prevent transmission of these viruses and other major pig diseases, pig raisers should take biosafety measures such as maintaining strict controls on personnel and entering and exiting vehicles and disinfection of equipment, and pig raisers using food waste should pay attention to the sources of food waste and make sure to cook food waste thoroughly before feeding it to their pigs. To facilitate prompt response and control of the disease, if pig raisers discover abnormal symptoms in their animals, they must immediately notify the Health Inspection Office.
To ensure that the African swine fever does not enter Taiwan, the Health Inspection Office calls on pig farmers and the public to avoid visits to pig farms in mainland China or other countries where the disease is present, and not bring any fresh meat products into the country. Furthermore, to avoid fines, pig farmers must dispose of animal carcasses properly in accordance with regulations.