The Iowa legislature is planning to spend an extra 750-thousand dollars to prepare for a possible outbreak of African Swine Fever. Representative Norlin Mommsen of DeWitt says the virus, which causes severe bleeding and death, has killed pigs in the Caribbean Islands.
The Senate has already approved a budget for the Iowa Department of Agriculture that includes 250-thousand dollars toward development of a vaccine and 250-thousand dollars to buy equipment to euthanize pigs. Mommsen says it ensures state officials could quickly respond at the first report of an Iowa herd getting African Swine Fever.
The House is expected to approve the budget bill this week. It includes another 250-thousand dollar boost to the state’s program for responding to an outbreak of a foreign animal disease.
According to the Iowa Pork Producers Association, on a typical day there are about 24 million hogs in Iowa. African Swine Fever is not a threat to humans, but once a pig is infected it is highly contagious to other pigs — and the mortality rate is 95 percent.