Published: Sun, September 09, 2018
Medical | By

China reports new African swine fever outbreak

China reports new African swine fever outbreak

African swine fever does not affect humans but causes haemorrhagic fever in pigs and wild boars that is almost always fatal. Highly contagious, the disease can spread through direct or indirect contact and causes high mortality, while the virus can persist for a long time in the environment and in a variety of swine products.

The fever was first detected in China in early August and has been found in 18 farms or abattoirs in six provinces, with many cases more than a 1,000 km apart, the FAO said in a statement.

The FAO is hosting government and pork industry officials from across the Asia-Pacific at a three-day meeting that concludes on Friday.

The agriculture ministry said it had identified the disease on three small farms in Jiamusi in Heilongjiang province in China's northeast and the cities of Wuhu and Xuancheng in the eastern province of Anhui.

The situation should serve as an opportunity to warn travellers not to bring pig meat products from outside the European Union into any EU member state, they said.

A Rabobank analyst told Reuters that "it looks like it's accelerating", and creating the expectation that farmers will start selling off pigs before they are forced to cull animals if the disease hits their own or neighboring farms.

Researchers believe that the virus may have been introduced to China through contaminated food that was fed to pigs, and, therefore, could spread to other countries the same way.

"We have a steep hill ahead of us", said Juan Lubroth, FAO's chief veterinary officer, in an interview.

Chinese authorities are rushing to contain the virus, shutting live markets in infected provinces and banning transportation of live pigs and pork products in and out of those regions.

Ms Croad said China was very serious about food security, so if there is any perceived risk from eating pork, despite that not being correct, it could have a major impact on consumers habits.

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