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DES MOINES, IOWA (AP) – Concerns about the spread of Africa swine fever to the U.S. have led organizers to cancel the World Pork Expo scheduled for June at the Iowa State Fairgrounds in Des Moines.

The National Pork Producers Council's board of directors announced its decision Wednesday. The annual June event brings about 20,000 visitors to Des Moines, including people and exhibitors from regions of the world where the disease has been diagnosed and is spreading.

The council says African swine fever affects only pigs and presents no human health or food safety risks. There is no vaccine to treat the swine disease.

Council spokesman Jim Monroe says the risk isn't zero for U.S. producers. For example, he says, some foreign visitor could unwittingly bring the virus along if his or her shoes were splattered with blood or feces from an infected animal.

“We completely understand that to cancel World Pork Expo is a tough decision that no one wants to make,” said Steve Rommereim, president of the National Pork Board and a pig farmer from Alcester, South Dakota. “But when it comes to the ongoing spread of African swine fever in Asia and Europe, caution must come first. We stand by our pig-farming partners in doing anything we can to stem the spread of this disease.”

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