PORTS are central to efforts aimed at preventing African swine fever entering Australia, Queensland agriculture minister Mark Furner says.

In a statement issued this week, Mr Furner rallied those on the front line against this disease.

“No treatment or vaccine is available and, if African swine fever becomes established in Queensland it will be difficult to eradicate, significantly impacting pig health and production,” the minister said.

“I therefore welcome the Commonwealth government lately putting a detector dog at Darwin – as the ports and airports are the front line of defence against this disease,” he said.

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“The greatest risk of introduction is from people illegally bringing pork or pork products into Australia from overseas and these being fed to or eaten by pigs.

“Recent detections of ASF virus fragments in meat confiscated at Australian airports and mail centres by the federal Department of Agriculture highlight the very real risk of possible entry through passenger movements and mail.”

Federal agriculture minister Bridget McKenzie this week confirmed a Vietnamese citizen had been deported for not declaring 4.5kg of pork at an Australian airport.

Mr Furner said African swine fever was an insidious disease which, in its most severe form, could affect and kill up to 100% of pigs.

“It’s estimated that by the end of 2019 up to a quarter of the world’s pigs may be lost as a result of African swine fever and there is no doubt this disease poses a significant threat to Queensland’s pig industry,” he said.

Mr Furner said since September 2018, the Queensland government had been developing prevention and preparedness strategies.

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