How Travelers Can Avoid Spreading African Swine Fever to Canada

As travelers, we love to dream about, research, and plan our next trip. Scrolling through inspirational photos and planning out itineraries is a massive part of the fun of travel!

However, as international travelers, we also have a responsibility to make sure that we do not bring anything home from the countries we’ve visited that could pose potential risks to our own economic well-being. It may not be as fun to think about, but it is incredibly important.

I’m proud to partner with the Canadian Food Inspection Agency on this sponsored blog post to bring awareness to travelers about African Swine Fever and discuss the ways that Canadian travelers can avoid bringing this disease into Canada.

What is African Swine Fever?

African Swine Fever (ASF) is a highly contagious and viral disease of both domestic and wild pigs that is ravaging parts of the world. There is no evidence that the ASF virus can infect humans, and it is not considered a food safety risk.

It causes fever, internal bleeding and high death rates in infected pigs, and can infect full herds of swine.

ASF can spread rapidly through both direct and indirect contact with infected pigs and pig products.

There is unfortunately no treatment or vaccine for ASF, and severe strains of ASF kill almost 100 percent of infected pigs.

Where is African Swine Fever found?

Fitting to the name of the disease, ASF is routinely found in several African countries. The disease has also spread across several countries in central Asia (including China), as well as several European countries.

ASF has never been found in Canada. An outbreak in Canada would have a significant economic impact on the country and the Canadian pork industry.

How is ASF transmitted and spread?


ASF can be spread through direct contact with the blood, tissues, secretions and excretions from infected pigs. Animals that recover may become persistent carriers of the virus.

The virus can persist in body tissues after death, surviving several months in fresh pork and processed pork products.

One of the most common ways ASF is spread from country to country is through feeding pigs uncooked food scraps that are infected with the virus.


Because the ASF virus can survive for long periods of time outside of the host, it can also be spread through indirect contact via the contamination of objects, such as:

  • farm equipment
  • vehicles
  • clothing and footwear
  • livestock feed

What risks do ASF pose to the Canadian pork industry and the Canadian economy?

Canada is the third-largest pork exporting country in both value and volume. Canada represents about 20% of the world pork trade. In 2017, over 1.2 million tonnes of pork, valued at $4 billion, was exported to over 100 countries.

Canadian pork is also a well-oiled economic engine. The pork industry contributes over 100,000 jobs that, in turn, generate $23.8 billion when farms, inputs, processing and pork exports are included.

An outbreak of African Swine Fever would pose very significant risks to both the Canadian pork industry and the Canadian economy. Countries could ban imports of pork from Canada, causing billions in economic damage. It’s integral that we all do our part to protect our economy and our pigs.

What can international travelers do?

Coming home from traveling abroad? You may be a carrier of African Swine Fever and not even know it!

There are multiple ways that we as international travelers can help to reduce the risk of spreading this disease (and others) to Canada:

  • Always declare ALL animal and food products at the border (#BeAwareAndDeclare or risk being fined up to $1300)
  • Take precautions when visiting farms outside of Canada
  • Declare ALL farm visits at the border when returning to Canada
  • Wash or dispose of ALL clothing and footwear worn while visiting a farm outside of Canada
  • Do not visit any farms in Canada within 14 days of being in contact with a farm or wild animals while traveling abroad

Click here for the ASF Traveler’s Pamphlet

What about those other than international travelers?

People other than international travelers, too, have a responsibility for reducing Canada’s risks of an outbreak of African Swine Fever. Learn about further disease prevention of ASF here. This includes information for producers, pig pet owners, animal feed and feed importers, and farm owners.

Which countries have been affected by African Swine Fever?

ASF is present in wild and/or domestic pigs in regions of Asia, Europe and Africa. Click here for a map of confirmed cases of ASF outbreak.

Here is an updated, current list of countries currently recognized as being free from African Swine Fever.

We can work together and take precautions to ensure that African Swine Fever is not introduced to Canada after our international travels.

Want to learn more about African Swine Fever and how it can be prevented?

For answers to other frequently asked questions about ASF, visit Canadian Food Inspection Agency’s ASF Fact Sheet.

Other Helpful Links & Resources:


How Travelers Can Avoid Spreading African Swine Fever to Canada

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Have questions or other travel trips and suggestions about traveling internationally? I’d love to hear from you – just leave me a comment below!


How Travelers Can Avoid Spreading African Swine Fever to Canada

I’m Jenn, a photographer, travel writer, and content creator based out of the beautiful Canadian Rockies. I’m glad you’re here – now let’s explore!

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