MU lab aids surveillance efforts for deadly African Swine Fever

In an effort to prevent an ASF outbreak in the states, the MU Veterinary Medical Diagnostic Laboratory is conducting surveillance testing to monitor the disease

Nov. 5, 2021


Brian Consiglio: African swine fever, or ASF, is a highly infectious and deadly disease affecting pigs. It originated in Africa, but outbreaks of the disease have recently been reported in Haiti and the Dominican Republic.

While there has never been a confirmed case of African Swine Fever in the United States, Shuping Zhang, director of the Veterinary Medical Diagnostic Laboratory at the University of Missouri, and her team conduct surveillance testing at MU to monitor the spread of the disease.

Zhang: “An ASF outbreak would devastate our economy, particularly the agriculture industry because governments often block imports from countries with confirmed ASF cases. We export a lot of pigs and pork products to other countries, and this generates a lot of revenue for our state and nation.”

Consiglio: Zhang’s lab receives pig tissue samples from swine farms and slaughter houses across Missouri. She says they can test about 1,500 samples per day, and can expand capacity if needed.

Zhang: “As soon as samples arrive, we begin testing. The results will become available within a few hours. If one were to be positive, our computer will alert federal and state governments immediately. We play a very important role in protecting Missouri’s animal health and animal agriculture economy. We collaborate very closely with our agriculture industry.”

Consiglio: For more on these efforts, visit

I’m Brian Consiglio, with a Spotlight on Mizzou.

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