ASF Travel Protocol

When you return home from a trip overseas, something as simple as the bottom of your shoes can bring African Swine Fever and other foreign animal diseases to the United States. If you visited a farm or were in contact with animals in countries that are known to have ASF, declare this information to U.S. Customs and Border Patrol.

Dr. Paul Sundberg is the executive director of the Swine Health Information Center. He says the correct protocol should then divert you to a secondary screening with the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service.

"They will ask if you are bringing back any items from farms in those other countries, those bags also undergo routine screening," says Sundberg. "They might ask you about the cleanliness of your clothes, have you washed those? And, I do know that they also ask you about the shoes that you’ve worn, if those are the ones you’re wearing back, or they take the shoes that you’re wearing or have been on the farm with and disinfect those as best they can."

Sundberg says unfortunately, not all who declare to Customs are sent to the secondary screening.

"We talked to Customs and Border Patrol about that and they are interested in making their process better. They want their process to be good, we want their process to be good," he says. "And so, what we’re offering to do is to collect those instances where people are not diverted and provide that back to them and let them know how often this happens, where it happened."

If you are among those not diverted to the secondary screening, Sundberg says to visit swinehealth.org for what to report.