Classical Swine Fever in Japan: a Swine Disease Global Surveillance Report

This report was published by the Swine Health Information Center and prepared by the University of Minnesota.

Sunday, September 9th, 2018

Classical Swine fever reported in Japan 26 years after last outbreak

On Sunday September 9th, Japan reported the occurrence of Classical Swine fever, in a farm located at Gifu Prefecture, in the central area of the country. Last week, one pig died suddenly, followed by the mortality of 80 others. On Sunday, officials declared the animals as tested positive for Classical Swine fever (CSF), also known as Hog Cholera. Currently, China is facing an epidemic of African Swine Fever, which is totally unrelated to this event in Japan. To date, Japanese Veterinary Services have ruled out the occurrence of African Swine Fever (ASF) in this outbreak or in the country.

A task force was implemented, and the remaining 610 pigs were culled to contain the outbreak. By Monday morning (local time) depopulation of the farm was completed. At first, no clear origin of infection was identified as feed was commercial, nor there were known foreign labors or visits from countries endemic with CSF working in the farm. At this point, cause of the virus introduction is unknown and under investigation.

Exports of pork have been suspended until the Veterinary Services are capable of understand the extension of the outbreak and if the measures were sufficient to contain it, while investigations about possible routes of introduction are implemented as well. The Gifu Prefecture is not the major area of swine production, and it is located 500 miles (800 kilometers) from the south region, the highest pig-dense area.

Classical swine fever map japan september 2018
Figure 1: Map of Japan, and Prefectures. In red, location of the Gifu Prefecture, in Central Japan. The highest pig-dense area of Japan is located in the south region of the country (adapted from Sasaki et al.,2017) approximately 500 miles (800 km) from Gifu Prefecture by road.

CSF is a notifiable disease and affects the international trade of pork, however, clinically it is usually considered less severe than ASF. Currently, it is considered endemic in many countries, including China, therefore it is a disease with potential direct and indirect effects to the US industry. Depending on the strain, extensions of outbreak, route of introduction and effectiveness of biosecurity measures to contain and prevent re-introductions, it could offer different levels of risk. Commercial vaccines are available for CSF control.

The last CSF outbreak in Japan was in 1992 in Kumamoto Prefecture, and in 2007 the use of vaccination was banned, and disease eradication was declared in the country. The Japanese swine industry is still recovering from the 2013-2016 PED epidemic. On July 9th-2018, APHIS published the official notice of the OIE recognition of Japan as free CSF. Currently Japan exports pork, and it is in the top-10 pork producing countries in the world. FAS/Tokyo estimates Japanese swine slaughter held stable at 16.336 million head in 2017.

At this point, no other cases of CSF are suspected in Japan.

classical swine fever map japan 2 september 2018
Figure 2: Report of classical Swine Fever in Japan. In red, Gifu Prefecture in Japan, located in the central area of the country. Score 2.*
*SDGS – Significance score: A scoring system to assess the likelihood a disease event will impact the global swine industry. Scores range from 1-3 (low-high) based on the novelty of the disease, effect on the swine industry, and impact on trade.

Science Page: Swine Global Surveillance Project: update and future steps

This is our Friday rubric: every week a new Science Page from the Bob Morrison’s Swine Health Monitoring Project. The previous editions of the science page are available on our website.

This week, we are sharing an update on the Swine Global Surveillance Project, lead by the Center for Animal Health and Food Safety in collaboration with the UMN Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory, the UMN swine group and the Swine Health Information Center (SHIC).

 Key Points:

  • It is a public, private and academic partnership to implement a system for near real time global surveillance of swine diseases.
  • The output of the system is a report of hazards identified and subsequently scored that may represent a risk for the US pork industry.
  • Developing systems to provide situational awareness to stakeholders in near-real time can facilitate the coordination between government agencies and the industry with the ultimate objective of preventing or mitigating the impact of diseases epidemics.
  • The reports are available at:

The system of near real time global surveillance of swine diseases is based on an online application.  Initially focused on three main potential
threats: Classical Swine Fever (CSF), African Swine Fever (ASF), and Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD), it will expand to other exotic swine diseases in the US in the near future. A report, distributed on a monthly basis by SHIC, includes a list of identified hazards that may represent a risk for the US.

Swine global surveillance process steps

Several steps are needed to build the Swine Global Surveillance report as shown in the figure above.

  1. Screening/Filtering phase: Multiple official data sources and soft data sources are systematically screened to build a raw repository. After that, an Include/exclude process is undertaken under a crowdsourcing model.
  2. Scoring phase: A multi-criteria rubric was built based on: credibility, scale and speed of the outbreak, connectedness, local capacity to respond and potential financial impact on the US market. Each event is score independently by a group of experts.
  3. Quality assurance (QA)/building: Its aim being to ensure that the design, operation, and monitoring of processes/systems will comply with the principles of data integrity including control over intentional and unintentional changes to information. The monthly report is put into a PDF document automatically from the app after the scoring process is finalized. At last, assembly of figures and proofreading is done before sending it to SHIC for monthly publication.

Next steps

  • Complete automation of event capture into the database
  • Expansion of the list of diseases in the report
  • Shrinking the gap between Search/Filter phase and Final Publication – (1 week)
  • Expanding scoring experts panel
  • Process documentation – Quality assurance compliance

Swine Global Surveillance Project Issues First Reports

cahfs_primary_graphicThe University of Minnesota Swine Group and the Center for Animal Health and Food Safety (CAHFS) have partnered with the Swine Health Information Center (SHIC) to develop and implement a system for near real time global surveillance of swine diseases. The output of the system is the identification of hazards that are subsequently scored using a step-wise procedure of screening, to identify increments in hazards that, potentially, may represent a risk for the US.

The first version of the system is now live, with the first three reports available, including data from November 5, 2017 to January 14, 2018.

Beginning in early March the tool will be available for spontaneous reporting by stakeholders, such as producers and practitioners both overseas and in the United States. During the first year of the project, the system will be developed and beta-tested for USDA-classified tier 1 reportable foreign animal swine diseases (ASF, CSF, FMD), but in the future more diseases will be tracked.

“As we have learned in recent years, we need to pay attention to external health threats as part of our overall risk management. Keeping tabs on global trends is a prudent investment,” said Dr. Jerry Torrison, Director of the University of Minnesota Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory.

From the most recent report, December 18, 2017 – January 14, 2018:

The current concern continues to focus on African swine fever in Poland and surrounding countries. Infected wild boars continue to be identified in the vicinity surrounding Warsaw, and the possibility of spread of the disease to the pig intensive area of eastern Poland continues to be a concern. Countries in the region are using a combination of increased hunting of wild boar along with boar proof fencing along borders to attempt to control the spread of the disease.

Visit to access the reports, and coming soon, to use the tool to provide spontaneous reporting.