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Areas of China dealing with ASF as of Feb. 13

Global concerns growing about African swine fever

Despite public and private efforts to control African swine fever (ASF) in China, most of the country is now positive for the disease that has reportedly killed as many as 1 million pigs. As of Feb. 13, there are 25 distinct geographic areas of China that have tested positive for the ASF virus. According to reports, supplies of pork to China’s big cities have been disrupted while prices have collapsed in areas with an oversupply of pigs from farmers who are barred from shipping to other provinces.

In addition, the current outbreak of Classical swine fever (CSF) in Japan is showing few signs of abating as the nation has recently reported additional infected farms. Geographically, this means five prefectures have either domestic and/or wild pigs that test positive for the virus.

Since last September, Japanese officials are frantically trying to step up biosecurity measures to contain and eliminate CSF, which had remained undetected on the island nation since 1992. Animal health officials continue to focus biocontainment tactics with the most recent infection resulting in about 15,000 pigs being euthanized. Although some farmers are requesting a vaccination strategy, officials maintain that doing so would interfere with Japan’s desire to export more of its pork.

Because of the severe economic impact of CSF, outbreaks are notifiable to the World Health Organization (OIE), which withdrew Japan’s free status last fall. CSF has the potential to cause devastating epidemics, particularly in countries free of the disease. While clinically indistinguishable from ASF, it is caused by an unrelated DNA virus. Also known as hog cholera, CSF does not affect humans.

As the battle against the spread of African swine fever (ASF) in Belgium’s wild boar herd continues, authorities in neighboring countries are not standing still. Officials in France have deployed French troops to help secure their border with fences. German, Danish and Dutch officials are taking similar measures as the core of northern Europe’s commercial pork production is threatened by this ongoing infection.

Meanwhile, ASF continues to cause havoc to farmers farther east in Europe, especially coming from the wild boar population. Countries such as Poland, Latvia, Romania, Moldova, Ukraine and others continue to battle ASF to varying extents. As in most cases, officials are often more concerned about the possibility of human transport of the virus, which can spread disease much faster and wider than from wild pigs alone.

 

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