The Chinese Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs reported today (computer translated) on a large African swine fever (ASF) outbreak on a Suihua City farm in Mingshui County in Heilongjiang Province.

China /CIA
China /CIA

The farm, which has 73,000 pigs, reportedly had 4,686 confirmed cases in pigs and 3,766 confirmed dead. This total is much larger than the typical outbreak reported in China since the first one was reported.

The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs sent a team to the local area. The local government has started the emergency response mechanism as required, and adopted measures such as blockade, culling and disinfection.

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Officials also note that transport of all pigs and related products out of or into the blockade zone is prohibited.

Since the first outbreak reported in China last August, scores of outbreaks have been reported in approximately two dozen provinces.

According to the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE):

  • African swine fever (ASF) is a severe viral disease affecting domestic and wild pigs;
  • It is responsible for serious production and economic losses;
  • This transboundary animal disease (TAD) can be spread by live or dead pigs, domestic or wild, and pork products;
    furthermore, transmission can also occur via contaminated feed and fomites (non-living objects) such as shoes, clothes, vehicles, knives, equipment etc., due to the high environmental resistance of ASF virus.
  • There is no approved vaccine against ASF (unlike classical swine fever (‘Hog Cholera’) which is caused by a different virus)
  • Historically, outbreaks have been reported in Africa and parts of Europe, South America, and the Caribbean. More recently (since 2007) the disease has been reported in multiple countries across Africa, Asia and Europe, in both domestic and wild pigs.