Defra updates African swine fever advice

Defra has updated its advice on how to identify and report African swine fever (ASF).

You can view the updated advice and information here


It outlines the main clinical signs of ASF:

  • fever
  • loss of appetite
  • lack of energy
  • sudden death with few signs beforehand

Other signs can include:

  • vomiting
  • diarrhoea
  • red or dark skin, particularly on the ears and snout
  • discharges from the eyes and nose
  • laboured breathing and coughing
  • abortions
  • weakness
  • unsteady gait

There are several different strains of ASF.

Pigs infected with mild strains may not become ill or show typical clinical signs.

Severe strains of the disease are generally fatal.

Defra has published photos of the clinical signs of ASF.


You should practice strict biosecurity to prevent the disease spreading. This includes:

  • wearing protective clothing and boots, and providing these for anyone coming onto your premises
  • cleaning and disinfecting vehicles and equipment that you’ve used in areas where pigs are
  • disposing of leftovers or waste food in secure bins that pigs or wildlife cannot access

Do not feed food waste

There is a reminder that it is illegal to feed catering or domestic food waste to pigs or wild boar because of the risk of spreading disease.

Catering waste includes food from vegetarian and vegan kitchens. This is because there’s a risk of cross contamination from other food.

Domestic food waste includes:

  • kitchen waste or scraps, such as leftovers from meals
  • raw, partially or fully cooked meat
  • meat that’s been cured, dried, smoked or frozen
  • fish, including shellfish
  • dog and cat food

You should dispose of leftovers, waste food and any packaging in secure bins so that pigs or wildlife cannot access it.

You should not take meat or meat products into areas where pigs are kept, or where wild boar live.

You should feed your pigs specially formulated commercial pig feed.

You can also feed them fruit and vegetables if these have never:

  • been taken into a domestic or commercial kitchen
  • come into contact with material of animal origin

When disease is suspected or confirmed

The website also gives advice on travelling to infected European countries and what happens when a notifiable disease is suspected or confirmed.

If the disease is confirmed, the African swine fever disease control strategy for Great Britain will be put in place to control the outbreak.

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About The Author

Editor of LBM titles Pig World and Farm Business and group editor of Agronomist and Arable Farmer. National Pig Association's webmaster. Previously political editor at Farmers Guardian for many years and also worked Farmers Weekly. Occasional farming media pundit. Brought up on a Leicestershire farm, now work from a shed in the garden in Oxfordshire. Big fan of Leicester City and Leicester Tigers. Occasional cricketer.