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BRI joins research to prevent US outbreak of African swine fever

29 October 2018

African swine fever (ASF) virus is positioned to spread throughout Asia and threatens to devastate the global swine industry. The Biosecurity Research Institute have now joined the race to find answers for preventing the spread of the disease

Kansas State University researchers and the Biosecurity Research Institute have several projects focused on African swine fever. Their research topics vary, but they share the same goal of stopping the spread of African swine fever and preventing it from reaching the US.


Kansas State University researchers and the Biosecurity Research Institute have several projects focused on stopping the spread of African swine fever and preventing it from reaching the US
[Photo: Kansas State University]

If African swine fever enters the US, it could cause billions in economic losses to swine and other industries, animal disease experts say. It would devastate trade and international markets.

There is no vaccine or cure for the disease, which causes hemorrhagic fever and high mortality in pigs. It does not infect humans.

"African swine fever's introduction into China poses an increased threat to the US," said Stephen Higgs, director of the Biosecurity Research Institute.

"Introduction of African swine fever virus into the US would have an enormous impact on our agricultural industry. Research, education and training at the Biosecurity Research Institute help to improve our understanding and preparedness for this threat."

In 2013, the Biosecurity Research Institute became the first non-federal facility to be approved for work with African swine fever virus, Higgs said. The university projects at the Biosecurity Research Institute are part of research that can transition to the National Bio and Agro-defense Facility, or NBAF, once it is fully functional. African swine fever is one of the diseases slated to be researched at NBAF, which is under construction adjacent to Kansas State University's Manhattan campus.

The African swine fever projects at Kansas State University are funded in part by the $35 million State of Kansas National Bio and Agro-defense Facility Fund and also have received support from the US Department of Homeland Security and the pork industry.

ThePigSite News Desk



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