A DISEASE OUTBREAK blossoms in China. Exactly how it emerges, far from the eyes of any surveilling scientist, no one can quite explain. It spreads with incredible speed, killing in wide swaths, freezing transport and trade, and causing vast economic disruption. Hitchhiking on global travel, it circles the world. There is no cure, and no vaccine. Inevitably, it arrives in the Americas, in July 2021.
Yup, 2021. The year is not a typo. This outbreak isn’t Covid; it is a parallel, hidden pandemic, a deadly animal disease called African swine fever that was detected in the Dominican Republic in July. African swine fever poses no risk to humans, but it is incredibly destructive to livestock: Those deaths in China were millions of pigs, at least one-quarter—and possibly one-half—of the entire herd of the world’s largest pork producer.
[IAF: then they make the case for a vaccine]
As with the Covid pandemic at its start, there is no vaccine—but also as with Covid, there is the glimmer of hope for one, thanks to basic science that has been laying down findings for years without receiving much attention. Two weeks ago, a multinational team led by scientists at the USDA’s Agricultural Research Service announced that they had achieved a vaccine candidate, based on a weakened version of the virus with a key gene deleted, and demonstrated its effectiveness in a field trial, in pigs, in Vietnam.
“The US is the largest pork exporter in the world,” says Andres Perez, a veterinary epidemiologist and director of the Center for Animal Health and Food Safety at the University of Minnesota. “If African swine fever were to enter the US, there would be an extreme impact on the economy of a number of states. That is why it should be a concern for the public.”
[IAF: here is the USDA's playbook for how to respond to this "inevitable crisis”]
If the disease were detected in the US, the USDA would oversee comprehensive animal slaughter—delicately called “depopulation”—at the farm where it was found, ones nearby, and also farms that had any contact with the first farm via movement of people, trucks, rented-equipment operators, or field reps. At the same time, the agency would order a “national movement standstill” of all swine in the US (and even swine semen being shipped somewhere) for at least 72 hours.
Depending on the location, the agency might also send out teams to hunt feral hogs that might be involved.
(Taken from Ice Age Farmer)