Risk of African Swine Fever Virus Introduction into the United States through Smuggling of Pork in Air Passenger Luggage

African swine fever causes substantial economic losses in the swine industry in affected countries. Traditionally confined to Africa with only occasional incursions into other regions, ASF began spreading into Caucasian countries and Eastern Europe in 2007, followed by Western Europe and Asia in 2018. Such a dramatic change in the global epidemiology of ASF has resulted in concerns that the disease may continue to spread into disease-free regions such as the US. In this study, we estimated the risk of introduction of ASF virus into the US through smuggling of pork in air passenger luggage. Results suggest that the mean risk of ASFV introduction into the US via this route has increased by 183.33% from the risk estimated before the disease had spread into Western Europe or Asia. Most of the risk (67.68%) was associated with flights originating from China and Hong Kong, followed by the Russian Federation (26.92%). Five US airports accounted for >90% of the risk. Results here will help to inform decisions related to the design of ASF virus surveillance strategies in the US.

Jurado C, Mur L, Pérez Aguirreburualde MS, Cadenas-Fernández E, Martínez-López B, Sánchez-Vizcaíno JM, Perez A. Risk of African swine fever virus introduction into the United States through smuggling of pork in air passenger luggage. Sci Rep. 2019 Oct. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-019-50403-w