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African Swine Fever & Probiotics as Disinfectant

African Swine Fever & Probiotics as Disinfectant

Erwin D. Torres, ND, Ph.D.

Consultant / Microbiologist – Eupapro Laboratories Inc.

African Swine Fever

African swine fever (ASF) is a highly contagious haemorrhagic viral disease of domestic and wild pigs, which is responsible for serious economic and production losses.

It is caused by a large DNA virus of the Asfarviridae family, which also infects ticks of the genus Ornithodoros.

Transmission and spread

The epidemiology of ASF is complex and varies depending on the environment, types of pig production systems, the presence/absence of competent tick vectors, human behavior, and the presence/absence of wild pigs.

Routes of transmission can include:

- direct contact with infected domestic or wild pigs

- indirect contact, through ingestion of contaminated material (e.g. food waste, feed, or garbage)

- contaminated fomites, or biological vectors (soft ticks of the genus Ornithodoros) where present.

Public health risk

ASF is not a risk to human health.

Clinical signs

Clinical signs and mortality rates can vary according to the virulence of the virus and the type/species of pig:

Acute forms of ASF are characterized by high fever, depression, anorexia and loss of appetite, hemorrhages in the skin (redness of skin on ears, abdomen and legs), abortion in pregnant sows, cyanosis, vomiting, diarrhea and death within 6-13 days (or up to 20 days). Mortality rates may be as high as 100%.

Subacute and chronic forms are caused by moderately or low virulent viruses, which produce less intense clinical signs that can be expressed for much longer periods. Mortality rates are lower, but can still range from 30-70%. Chronic disease symptoms include loss of weight, intermittent fever, respiratory signs, chronic skin ulcers and arthritis.

Different types of pig may have varying susceptibility to ASF virus infection. African wild pigs may be infected without showing clinical signs allowing them to act as reservoirs.


ASF may be suspected based on clinical signs but confirmation must be made with laboratory tests, particularly to differentiate it from classical swine fever (CSF). Guidance on diagnostic tests for ASF can be found in the Manual of Diagnostic Tests and Vaccines for Terrestrial Animals.

Prevention and control

Currently there is no approved vaccine for ASF.

Prevention in countries free of the disease depends on implementation of appropriate import policies and biosecurity measures, ensuring that neither infected live pigs nor pork products are introduced into areas free of ASF. This includes ensuring proper disposal of waste food from aircraft, ships or vehicles coming from affected countries and policing illegal imports of live pigs and pork products from affected countries.

During outbreaks and in affected countries, control of ASF can be difficult and must be adapted to the specific epidemiological situation.

Classic sanitary measures may be employed including early detection and humane killing of animals (with proper disposal of carcasses and waste); thorough cleansing and disinfection; zoning/compartmentalization and movement controls; surveillance and detailed epidemiological investigation; strict biosecurity measures on farms.

As observed in Europe and in some regions of Asia, the transmission of ASF seems to depend largely on the wild boar population density and their interaction with low-biosecurity pig production systems. The good knowledge and management of the wild boar population and a good coordination among the Veterinary Services, wildlife and forestry authorities are required to successfully prevent and control ASF.

Depending on the epidemiological situation, the involvement of the soft tick vector should also be considered in the control programme.

Philippine Status

Based on the article published in USDA Foreign Agricultural Service / GLOBAL AGRICULTURAL INFORMATION NETWORK , the Department of Agriculture confirm the presence of ASF based on the 14 out of 20 samples submitted to the World Animal Health (OIE) Reference Laboratory for Swine Diseases in the United Kingdom have tested positive for African swine Fever. Initially, seven areas in two provinces in Luzon have been affected by ASF. These are Rizal Province ( Rodriguez and Antipolo) and Bulacan ( Guiguinto). A total of 7,416 pigs within 1km radius of the affected areas in Rizal and Bulacan have been culled pending the results of another test to determine the strain and virulence of ASF.

The Philippines has been hit hard by ASF outbreaks since 2019. This has forced the country to ramp up pork imports to address an acute domestic shortage. According to Department of Agriculture (DA)’s Bureau of Animal Industry (BAI), since mid-2019, the ASF virus has affected pig farms in 2,981 barangays, in 579 cities and municipalities, mostly in Luzon. The incidence peaked in August 2020, with 1,773 positive samples.

Secretary William D. Dar of the Department of Agriculture issued Administrative Order No. 22 Series of 2020 on May 29, 2020, the guidelines on swine depopulation after African Swine Fever (ASF) confirmation.

Another Administrative order was issued on February 10, 2021, contains the guidelines on the implementation of the recovery, rehabilitation and repopulation assistance program for the ASF- affected and non-ASF affected areas.

Philippines: "1-7-10" protocol in place to stop spread of ASF

The 1-7-10 protocol means that in a one-kilometer radius from the site of infection or ground zero, hogs will be prohibited from entering or leaving the area, and the site is to eventually be depopulated. In a seven-kilometer radius, hogs would be under surveillance with restricted movements, and blood testing would be done. For the 10-kilometer radius from ground zero, mandatory monitoring and reporting of swine disease occurrences shall be implemented.

Efforts behind the declining ASF cases

For the declining ASF cases, credit is given to the strong government support and its collaboration with several stakeholders, namely: Local government units, pig farmer organizations, pig farmers, private sectors, veterinary groups, and academic institutions.

The government has launched a 29.6 billion pesos (US$ 586 million) programme to boost local pork production focusing on pig repopulation, extending financial assistance to pig raisers, and strengthening biosecurity to control the spread of the virus.

Probiotics As Disinfectants

In recent years, various studies have reported that bacteria like Salmonella, methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) and E. coli can develop a resistance against certain disinfection strategies. As a result, ongoing research is being carried out for potential alternatives to conventional cleaning and disinfection methods. Often, probiotic cleaning is suggested as an alternative, the principle being based on the idea that good bacteria would take the place of unwanted bugs like Salmonella, pathogenic E. coli, Enterococcus and MRSA and thus interfere in the communication between bacteria. Nevertheless, little scientific information is available describing the usage and the efficacy of these probiotic solutions in the livestock business.

Some studies shows that there was a significant reduction of the bacterial counts of various bacterial species ( Staphylococci, streptococci, and gram-negative rods) from almost all the surfaces after the application of probiotic solution compared to the same surfaces cleaned with the regular chemical solutions. This study demonstrated the use of probiotics cleaning is effective in reducing microbial growth.

There are several studies done with conflicting results about the effectiveness of probiotics cleaner or as disinfectants. It is not surprising mainly because results of any study depends on selection of strains and the manufacturer. To be effective, strains to be used must be carefully and properly tested first to be very effective to control salmonella, E. Coli, coliforms plus a large number of other bacteria and viruses like ASF virus.

San Juan Batangas ASF Case Narrative

The first ASF case in San Juan, Batangas was detected in July 2020 at Poctol, San Juan, Batangas and more cases followed located in 14 different barangays of San Juan. The same procedure was implemented following the guidelines stated in the Philippines ASF Contingency Plan 2019.

The farmers reported that the pigs in their small-hold farm was usually in appetent, coughing or having labored breathing, with discoloration on the skin particularly around ears and snout, abortion in pregnant sows and eventually die within two to five days. After the confirmation of the report, the Provincial Surveillance team collected samples and submitted samples to the laboratory. According to the ASF Contingency Plan, the farm that tested positive together with the farms located within 500 meters will be included in the depopulation activities. The preparation for the depopulation activities was initiated by the Municipal Agriculture Office or the City Veterinary Office. After every material and the burial site was prepared, the depopulation team then will collect the pigs in the infected and 500meter radius. After cleaning and disposal of the infected materials, disinfection and control of vectors was done for 30 days on a daily basis and had a downtime of another one more month. Checkpoints were also established for the entry and exit points of the area controlling the movement of the possible infection to other areas. At the end of the downtime period, environmental swabs were collected from the infected farms which was done twice with a one-week interval tested under Nanogold Biosensor test and PCR for ASF. When the result turns negative, the farm then will be given sentinel animals observation. The pigs were tested for fecal swab on day seven and day 21 and blood samples on day 40.

At the same time of the preparation for the depopulation activities, the surveillance team was collecting samples of pigs in the 501 meters to one kilometer radius of the infected zone. Once ASF is detected in one holding, the pigs in the infected area together with the pigs in the 500-meter radius shall be depopulated.

Table 1. ASF Laboratory Result for Batangas

Eupaclean Probiotics as Disinfectant

Eupaclean is a highly concentrated, all-natural household and industrial cleaner containing powerful probiotic bacteria, antioxidants and enzymes that break down grease, grime and dirt and neutralize odors.

Eupaclean means cleaning without chemicals plus encouraging growth of beneficial microorganisms; its living benefits continue to work even after the initial application.

The probiotic properties of Eupaclean ensure it is eminently safe for humans and the environment. It is uniquely effective as a surface-active agent to ionize and digest organic matter for surface cleaning and odor reduction. It can be used safely in septic systems and is fully biodegradable.

Eupaclean can be used as a general-purpose household cleaner/SANITIZER, for floors, kitchen surfaces, mold and mildew areas, and bathrooms.

Eupaclean is a probiotic cleaning liquid and works differently with other anti-bacterial products, which attempt to kill bad bacteria. It utilizes beneficial bacteria to regenerate and repopulate with healthy bacteria so they can dominate harmful, disease-causing (pathogenic) bacteria. This creates a natural, healthy and clean environment.

It is important to understand that Eupaclean does not behave as a chemical. It does not kill everything on the surface, leaving it sterile or open for re-population by bad bacteria. Instead, it uses living processes and the natural relationship amongst Eupaclean microorganisms to repair and support balanced ecology.

The sustainability of the Eupaclean disinfectant, provides a truly healthy "clean". With the correct Eupaclean dilution or ratio applied to a surface or area, competition is introduced, and pathogens cannot survive to domination.

Beneficial Eupaclean microbes will overpower them using the available resources to feed and reproduce rapidly, to support ongoing beneficial processes.

Additional References / Reading Materials for Probiotics as Disinfectants.

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