Warning notice

Travellers and pig owners must exercise caution

All necessary measures must be taken to prevent introducing African swine fever to Canada. African swine fever has been present in the Americas since it was first detected in the Dominican Republic and Haiti in 2021, and it is also prevalent in many African, Asian and European countries.  ​

Review the precautions that apply to small pig herds This hyperlink will open in a new window. (in French only).


African swine fever is a contagious viral disease. It generally results in high mortality rates in infected pigs. The disease has never been detected in Québec or Canada,  but it is found in Asia, Europe, the West Indies and Africa.

African swine fever is not transmissible to humans, so there is no risk to human health or food safety.

At-risk animals

African swine fever can be transmitted to farmed pigs, as well as backyard and pet pigs. Wild boars can also be affected by the disease.

Signs of the disease

Signs of the disease vary and can develop suddenly. The virus may cause a chronic disease.

The African swine fever virus may cause the following symptoms:

  • High fever
  • Loss of appetite
  • Weakness
  • Reddening of the skin
  • Bleeding from the extremeties such as the nose and the rectum
  • Diarrhea and vomiting, sometimes bloody
  • Abortions in pregnant sows
  • Faster breathing
  • Risk of sudden death or death after a period of illness

Transmission and incubation period

African swine fever can spread directly between sick and healthy pigs. Transmission occurs via contact with the blood, tissue, secretions and dejecta of infected pigs.

The time between the virus entering the animal’s body and the appearance of symptoms, or the incubation period, ranges from 3 to 21 days.

Animals that recover may become persistent carriers of the virus and spread it. The virus remains in pigs’ bodies after death. Therefore, contact with the tissues, blood and other bodily fluids of dead animals represents a risk of transmitting the disease to other pigs.

African swine fever can spread indirectly. Since the virus persists for a long time in an infected animal’s environment, it can spread through contaminated objects such as agricultural equipment and vehicles, animal feed, clothing and shoes.

The virus can also survive for several months in fresh meat and in fresh, frozen, cooked, partly cooked or processed pork products.


There is no treatment or vaccine for African swine fever.

Protection and prevention

The virus can be transmitted by contaminated food or ingredients. Always buy animal feed from reputable suppliers who maintain appropriate biosecurity measures.

It is illegal to feed pigs meat. This restriction extends to all animal feed containing meat or meat by‑products, including food intended for pets such as cat food. Pigs should not be fed human food, such as table scraps, because they could contain meat. For more information on feed, please refer to this federal government fact sheet This hyperlink will open in a new window..

Biosecurity measures

Strictly following biosecurity measures This hyperlink will open in a new window. (in French only) is the best defence to prevent the virus from infecting pigs.

The National Swine Farm-Level Biosecurity Standard and other tools to help improve your practices are available on the Centre de développement du porc du Québec website This hyperlink will open in a new window. (in French only).

Even if you only own a single pig or a small herd, you must follow hygiene measures when caring for an animal. For example, you must change your boots, wear dedicated coveralls or overalls, wash your hands and clean all equipment. These simple measures are especially important when you come into contact with other pig owners or when you go to gathering points such as agricultural exhibitions and auctions. For more information, visit the webpage on small pig herds This hyperlink will open in a new window. (in French only).

Travellers returning from abroad

Travellers returning from abroad must take the necessary precautions to prevent bringing animal diseases to Canada. It is particularly important to never bring meat or pork products back to Canada.

For more details, visit the federal government webpage Travellers: Don't be a carrier of African swine fever This hyperlink will open in a new window..

Surveillance and regulation

Without exception, all pigs can contract African swine fever, whether they are kept as pets or as farm animals. That’s why you must monitor their health at all times.

Reportable disease

If pigs show any signs of disease, make sure to see a veterinarian as soon as possible. To find out more, please review the Notice to animal owners and keepers (PDF 193 Kb).

African swine fever is a reportable disease. If a veterinarian’s clinical assessment leads to a suspicion of African swine fever, the vet must immediately inform the government of Québec and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency. Details are available on the Reportable diseases webpage.

Traceability system and pig registration

Pigs that are transported from one place to another may take viruses with them. If the African swine fever virus is detected in Canada, all pigs that are likely to be contaminated must be found.

That is why information must be recorded on all places where pigs are kept and all pig movements, even if you only have a single farmed or pet pig. To register your animals, please call Les Éleveurs de porcs du Québec at 1-800-363-7672.

Surveillance tools

Various disease surveillance tools are in place in Canada under the name CanSpotASF. Details are available on the Animal Health Canada website This hyperlink will open in a new window..

You can also follow the webinar on African swine fever surveillance in the prevention period This hyperlink will open in a new window. (in French only), which provides more information on surveillance methods in Québec.

Veterinarians will also find detailed information on the subject in the Bulletin zoosanitaire sur la peste porcine africaine (PDF 625 Kb) (in French only).

Last update: January 8, 2024


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