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China reports first case of African swine fever

Infection on a small farm with 383 pigs, where 47 pigs died from the disease, was confirmed by China Animal Health and Epidemiology Center on Aug. 3.

Source: Swine Health Information Center
The first case of African swine fever in China has been reported today. First identified on Aug. 1, the outbreak was located in the northeast, in Shenyang in the Shenbei New district in the Liaoning province, a swine-dense area 130 miles from the North Korean border.

Infection on a small farm with 383 pigs, where 47 pigs died from the disease, was confirmed by China Animal Health and Epidemiology Center on Aug. 3.

The Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention officially reports a Level 2 outbreak, and it has been contained with the slaughter of a herd of close to 1,000 pigs. The transport of pigs in and out of the area has been banned, along with the feeding of untreated food waste. In the event of a major outbreak, provincial veterinary authorities in the affected provinces shall immediately launch a working day reporting system for the prevention and control of ASF, and suspend the transfer of live pigs and related products from the affected counties and districts.

Relevant provinces will carry out emergency epidemiological investigation. All relevant departments shall, in accordance with their respective responsibilities, work together to prevent and control the epidemic. Major concern exists about the spread of the disease in the Chinese pig herd, and possibly to Japan, the Korean Peninsula and other parts of Asia.

Swine Health Information Center

ASF outbreak reported in a small pig farm in district of Shenbei New, in the province of Liaoning, northeast China. This city is 130 miles from the North Korea border, and is located at 800 miles from Japan (in straight line across the water). It also is 652 miles from the Russian border and 1,242 miles from the Mongolian border. Caution is encouraged to prevent the spread of the virus via international travelers and meat byproducts.

The current ASF challenge outside Africa started in 2007 in Georgia, from there to the Russian Federation and eastern Europe, including European Union countries in the Baltic States, Ukraine, Poland, Czech Republic. Latvia and Romania are facing now several ASF outbreaks, and its rapid spread in wild boars and commercial herds. Thousands of miles from any known case of ASF, the introduction into China is a major concern. The way that this disease was introduced is unknown, but it is indicative that this disease can travel long distances, not only in infected pigs but also by contaminated food, feed, with international travelers and other articles.

The People’s Republic of China has more than half of the world’s pig population, with thousands of backyard and large-scale farms operating in the northern, central and southern regions, and currently produces about half of the world’s pork and is the top consumer of the meat. If this virus is already in other herds, the challenge to contain the disease in this region will be daunting. As of this official report, no other outbreaks have been published.

Further surveillance, rapid response and restriction of sales and animal movement are the main tools as there is no vaccine available. This outbreak illustrates again that protection against this foreign animal disease not only involves vigilance at countries’ borders, but on each hog farm. Restrictions of the introduction of imported foodstuffs, especially meats, and recent travelers, especially from countries battling FADs, should be examined.

References:

• BMJ Journal: Preparing for the worst: African swine fever in China 
• Nasdaq: China reports 1st African swine fever outbreak, culls 1,000 hogs 
• Sina: The first major African swine fever epidemic in China has occurred in many countries around the world     
• Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs of the People’s Republic of China: Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Areas Issues Early Warning of Epidemic Situation of African Hog

The mission of the Swine Health Information Center is to protect and enhance the health of the United States swine herd through coordinated global disease monitoring, targeted research investments that minimize the impact of future disease threats, and analysis of swine health data. Contact Paul Sundberg, SHIC executive director, at 855-211-4333 or visit the SHIC website.

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