African Swine Fever (ASF) is a highly contagious viral disease of pigs. In its acute form the disease generally results in high mortality. ASF is a different disease to swine flu. The virus does not affect people and there is no impact on human health.

If notifiable disease is suspected, contact the DAERA Helpline on 0300 200 7840 or your local DAERA Direct Regional Office. Failure to do so is an offence

Current Situation (October 2023)

The new updated Veterinary Risk Assessment for ASF can be found at the link below

The risk of an ASF incursion continues to exist as the virus is still spreading across Europe with recent outbreaks detected in Sweden. This is the first time the disease has been reported in the country. 

This recent jump has caused concern amongst many countries.  DAERA is highlighting the need for vigilance to keep the disease out of Northern Ireland.

ASF has also continued to be reported in wild boar across Europe.

The disease is also present in several countries in Eastern Europe and also in Asia. In affected areas the disease has been confirmed in wild boar, as well as on farms, smallholdings and in pet pigs.

Please click link below to see recent press release

Help keep African Swine Fever out of Northern Ireland | Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (

Watch the video below for further information:

Clinical signs

The clinical signs of ASF may occur in chronic, sub-acute or acute form. The incubation period for ASF is variable but is usually between five and fifteen days.

In the acute form pigs develop a high temperature (40.5 degrees C or 105 degrees F), then become dull and go off their food. Other symptoms can vary but will include some or all of the following:

  • vomiting
  • diarrhoea (sometimes bloody)
  • reddening or darkening of the skin, particularly ears and snout
  • gummed up eyes
  • laboured breathing and coughing
  • abortion, still births and weak litters
  • weakness and unwillingness to stand

The clinical signs of ASF are indistinguishable to those for Classical Swine Fever and also similar to other pig diseases such as Porcine Dermatitis and Neopathy Syndrome.

Where is this disease found?

Traditionally this serious disease has occured mainly in Africa with the only endemic area in the European Union (EU) being the Italian island of Sardinia. However since 2017 the disease has also been reported in Central and Eastern Europe.

What is the public health risk associated with this disease?

African Swine Fever is not a human health threat.

How is the disease transmitted?

African Swine Fever can be spread through:

  • direct contact with infected pigs, faeces or body fluids
  • indirect contact via fomites such as equipment, vehicles or people who work with pigs between pig farms with ineffective biosecurity
  • pigs eating infected pig meat or meat products
  • biological vectors - ticks of the speciesOrnithodoros. However, ASF-competent ticks are not present in the UK


Good biosecurity is essential to the prevention of introduction of ASF into Northern Ireland.

Biosecurity measures that farmers can take

  • maintain strict biosecurity
    • only allow essential visitors to enter your farm, and insist that they wear clean or disposible clothing and footwear, and wash their hands (or shower in if possible)
    • only allow vehicles and equipment on to the farm if they have been cleaned and disinfected beforehand
  • do not allow people who may have been in contact with other pigs on to your farm
  • do not allow staff and visitors to bring pork products on to the farm
  • do not allow catering waste / scraps to be fed to pigs - dispose of it safely
  • only source pigs and semen of known health status

The feeding of any food waste of animal origin or food waste which has been in contact with products of animal origin, whether raw or cooked, is illegal in the UK.

If you keep pigs, you have an important role in preventing further disease outbreaks, it is essential that pig holders maintain effective biosecurity all year round.

The above biosecurity measures are covered in our one page leaflet – print this and keep it handy, or put a copy on your noticeboard:’

Anyone suspecting African Swine Fever must immediately inform their DAERA Direct Regional Office.

If African Swine Fever is confirmed it will be controlled in line with the African Swine Fever Control Strategy.

More useful links

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