CanSpot ASF testing

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CanSpotASF testing

Co-Authors:  The OAHN Swine Network and Swine Health Ontario

Background Information

  • African Swine Fever (ASF) is a virus that has been spreading rapidly internationally since 2019.  It has been detected in several countries in Asia, Europe and most recently in the Dominican Republic and Haiti. 
  • It is a virus that only infects pigs and therefore poses no risk to humans or to food safety.  The majority of swine that are infected with this virus will die as a result. 
  • To date this virus has never been detected in North America, and so the focus is on prevention of ASF from being detected in Canada or the U.S.A. 
  • Canada’s swine industry is export driven, if this virus was ever detected in Canada all international trade of swine or swine products would immediately cease causing an exponential surplus of swine.

CanSpotASF- Information

  • CanSpotASF is a risk-based early detection testing program that works on the principle that the sooner we detect this virus once it arrives in Canada the more we can limit its spread leading to a faster and more efficient outbreak response. 
  • CanSpotASF is available at approved Canadian Animal Health Surveillance Network Laboratories. In Ontario, this includes the Animal Health Laboratory (AHL) in Guelph.
  • Approved laboratory pathologists and/or submitting veterinarians can indicate on a lab submission form that they would like samples to be included in the CanSpotASF program for testing.  Samples must meet eligible criteria outline via the following link: is the preferred tissue sample needed for ASF testing.
  • CanSpotASF is a program that is set up with the goal of early detection of ASF.  It is to be used when ASF is not a main rule-out diagnosis and where early clinical signs of ASF could be masked by other routinely diagnosed swine endemic viruses in Canada.
  • There is no charge to the producer/owner for this testing.  All testing costs in Ontario are paid for by the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA).
  • If ASF is suspected on a farm/premises the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) must be notified immediately as this is a foreign animal disease in Canada.

Future of CanSpotASF - What to Expect

  • CanSpotASF testing has very recently been launched in select  federally licensed and inspected abattoirs in Canada that receive swine. Testing will soon be launched in provincial abattoirs.
  • Other future goals of the CanSpotASF program are to allow for producers to submit samples directly to the lab or through to their veterinarians for inclusion and future testing for ASF in wild pigs that are found dead or captured.  Canada’s wild pig population varies from province to province and since Canada is free of ASF, the wild pig population is also considered free of this disease.  Testing of wild pigs would provide support to this known fact for international trading partners.