Classical swine fever: how to spot and report the disease

How to spot classical swine fever, what to do if you suspect it, and measures to prevent its spread.

Applies to England, Scotland and Wales

Classical swine fever affects pigs.

It is not known to affect humans.

The last outbreak in Great Britain was in 2000.

Classical swine fever should not be confused with swine flu which is a different disease.

Classical swine fever is a notifiable animal disease. If you suspect it you must report it immediately by calling the Defra Rural Services Helpline on 03000 200 301. In Wales, contact 0300 303 8268. In Scotland, contact your local Field Services Office. Failure to do so is an offence.

How to spot classical swine fever

The signs of classical swine fever are very similar to African swine fever.

The main clinical signs are:

  • fever
  • loss of appetite
  • lack of energy
  • sudden death with few signs beforehand

Other signs can include:

  • vomiting
  • diarrhoea
  • red or dark skin, particularly on the ears and snout
  • swollen red eyes
  • laboured breathing and coughing
  • abortions, still-births and weak litters
  • nervous signs, eg convulsions and tremors in newborn piglets
  • weakness

There are several different strains of classical swine fever.

Pigs infected with mild strains may not become ill or show clinical signs.

Severe strains of the disease are generally fatal.

How classical swine fever is spread

Classical swine fever is very contagious. It can spread by:

  • pigs eating infectious meat or meat products
  • contact with infected pigs or their faeces or body fluids
  • contact from infected sows to their piglets
  • contact with anything contaminated with the virus including:
    • people and their clothing
    • vehicles and other equipment

Preventing and controlling classical swine fever

You can help prevent the disease by practising strict biosecurity on your premises.

If you report suspicion of classical swine fever, APHA vets will investigate.

If classical swine fever is confirmed it will be controlled in line with the contingency plan for exotic notifiable diseases and the GB classical swine fever disease control strategy.

Further information on prevention and control

Controls to prevent disease

What happens when a notifiable disease is suspected or confirmed

Legislation relating to classical swine fever

The Diseases of Swine Regulations 2014 implement EU Directive 2001/89/EC for the control of CSF.

Updates to this page

Published 26 August 2014
Last updated 18 October 2018 + show all updates
  1. Contact details for reporting a notifiable disease updated

  2. AHVLA documents have been re-assigned to the new Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA).

  3. First published.

Sign up for emails or print this page