WASHINGTON D.C.: The World Organization for Animal Health said the first outbreak of the African swine fever, a fatal pig virus, in Haiti in 37 years was recently discovered, raising concerns about its spreading throughout the Americas.
In its report on Monday, the Organization for Animal Health said an operation in Anse--Pitre, near Haiti's border with the Dominican Republic, discovered the outbreak, which began on 26th August.
Meanwhile, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) said, on Tuesday, that the recent cases in the Dominican Republic were not surprising, adding that it is consulting with animal health officials in the two countries.
The outbreaks on Hispaniola opened up the possibility of the disease spreading, for the first time, to the U.S. and impacting American pork exports.
The agency said that the U.S. has already banned Haitian and Dominican pork due to another swine disease, noting that Customs and Border Protection is increasing its inspections of flights from Hispaniola to detect illegal pork.
Last week, the USDA confirmed the outbreak in Haiti, which has started a monitoring campaign and imposed a quarantine, through testing at a laboratory on Plum Island, New York.
African swine fever, which originated in Africa before spreading to Europe and Asia, is harmless to humans but has killed hundreds of millions of pigs.
Three years ago, the disease spread rapidly in China and killed half the country's pig population within a year.
The outbreak is the latest challenge facing Haiti's people and the government after an earthquake and the assassination of the country's president.