The Chinese Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs reported Friday (computer translated) on a new African swine fever (ASF) outbreak in the Economic and Technological Development Zone of Yongzhou City, Hunan Province.

Image/PublicDomainPictures via pixabay
Image/PublicDomainPictures via pixabay

Officials say the disease had been detected on a farm where 4,600 pigs were being raised. 171 of the pigs had died and 270 were found sick, according to the ministry.

ASF arrived in China in early August and has been recorded in different areas of the country, in some cases more than one-thousand kilometers apart.

African Swine Fever (ASF) is a highly contagious, generalized disease of pigs caused by an Iridovirus of family Asfarviridae that exhibits varying virulence between strains and is very hardy to physical and chemical inactivation. The agent can remain viable for long periods in blood, feces and tissues. It can also multiply in its vectors.

It most commonly appears in the acute form as a hemorrhagic fever. Subacute and chronic forms of the disease also exist. Mortality is usually close to 100 percent and pigs of all ages are affected.

ASF is considered endemic in most countries in sub-Saharan Africa. It is now established beyond Africa, in the Caucasus and Eastern Europe. In the past, the virus was already detected outside Africa from the 1950s to the 1980s in Europe, the Caribbean and Brazil. The disease was effectively eradicated from outside of Africa with the exception of the Italian island of Sardinia, which remains endemic.