07 January 2020

Importance of protecting Australia’s biosecurity

Australia’s biosecurity system works to protect local animals and plants from pests and diseases. However, with 60,000 kilometres of coastline, and increased traffic through airports and seaports we must all work to minimise the risks of disease.

There is currently a risk posed to Australian pigs from African Swine Fever which has been reported in Africa, Europe and Asia with more recent reports of the disease in Vietnam, Timor Leste, Cambodia and Indonesia.

African Swine Fever (ASF) is a highly contagious viral disease which results in an approximate mortality rate of 80% in infected feral and domestic pigs. The disease does not affect humans however the disease does spread rapidly, is resistant to some disinfectants and can be carried on shoes, clothing or machinery and the virus can survive in fresh and processed pork products.

ASF presents a serious threat to the health and welfare of Australia’ pig industries and Australian Pork has indicated that an ASF incursion in Australia would cost over $2 billion.

There is currently no approved vaccine that is effective against ASF, however there are important steps we can all take to reduce the risk of an incursion. Effective biosecurity is our best defence for protecting the health of our porcine industries.

AMA supports the government’s efforts to increase biosecurity measures in response to ASF risk and encourages Australians travelling overseas and visitors to Australia to be vigilant and recognise these risks. For more information about biosecurity and travelling or sending goods to Australia visit: agriculture.gov.au/travelling.

To learn more about the risks of African Swine Fever visit:

191223 - Biosecurity

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media release