The Virgin Islands Department of Agriculture Veterinary Services Division (VIDA VSD) has embarked on a robust swine health surveillance program in partnership with the USDA. In response to the outbreak of African Swine Fever (ASF) in pigs in the Dominican Republic and Haiti in 2021, every effort is being made to keep the disease out of the U.S. Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico and the United States.
A protection zone was created to mitigate the risk of African Swine Fever (ASF) disease introduction into the territories and the United States.
This protection zone puts into place enhanced testing of all USVI swine farms twice a year, prohibition of swine and pork products from entering or leaving the USVI, and increased training and education of farmers and stakeholders regarding biosecurity. Customs and Border Protection has increased inspections of passengers, boats, aircraft and cargo leaving and entering the USVI.
Enhanced testing of swine is a multi-agency effort. All 30 swine farmers in the territory have readily cooperated in these surveillance activities, resulting in 100% of swine farms being tested. The V.I. Department of Agriculture (VIDA) abattoir staff has sampled all swine moving through the facility. USDA Wildlife Services staff have been sampling wild pigs. As a result, over 220 animals have been tested in the past six months, and all have tested negative.
VIDA’s Veterinary Services Division with USDA will maintain the brisk pace of surveillance through the next year.
With the current outbreak of Avian Influenza on the U.S. mainland, VIDA VSD is continuing its extensive avian health surveillance program and will continue testing all poultry premises in the territory. Movement of birds into the territory is being monitored and may be restricted upon notification from USDA. VIDA VSD has been testing birds since 2006; all have had negative results.
Dr. Bethany Bradford, director of Veterinary Services, thanks the swine farmers and poultry owners for their cooperation in protecting their animals, their farms and ultimately the community. Dr. Bradford encourages each farmer to continue to practice good biosecurity on their farms and contact VIDA with questions and/or concerns.
To report any sick pigs or poultry, or to have birds tested, call the Veterinary Services Division:
St. Croix 642-7320
St. Thomas 774-5182
St. John 423-9022