‘No way to stop it’: millions of pigs culled across Asia as swine fever spreads

Experts say region is losing the engagement to stop the biggest animal disease outbreak the planet has ever faced

South-east Asia is combating to contain the spread of highly contagious African swine fever, known as” animal Ebola”, which has already led to the culling of millions of pigs in China and Vietnam.

African swine fever, which is harmless to humen but fatal to swine, was discovered in China in August, where it has caused havoc, leading to more than 1.2 m animals being gleaned. China is home to almost half of the world’s boars and the story sent the world-wide toll of pork soaring.

There is no vaccination for African swine fever, which causes boars to internally haemorrhage until they die, so the only option to contain the disease is to kill any adulterated animals. Some approximates say that in China up to 200 m swine may eventually be slaughtered. The virus can last-place for various weeks on anything from drapes to vehicles, allowing for it to easily travel long distances.

It has spread like wildfire across Asia, starting stretching devastation to the pig farmers of Vietnam and Cambodia and putting Thailand, Asia’s second-biggest pork producer, on” red alert “. Subjects have increased in Mongolia, North Korea and Hong Kong in recent weeks, while South Korea is blood testing boars at the border.

The UN Food and Agriculture organisation( UNFAO) and regional professionals is a concern that Myanmar, Philippines and Laos will be next because they are all highly prone to an outbreak, due to the struggle to control the movement of animals and pig makes across porous borders.

” This is the biggest animal disease outbreak we’ve ever had on the planet ,” said Dirk Pfeiffer, a veterinary epidemiologist at City University of Hong Kong and expert on African swine fever.” It makes the foot and mouth disease and BSE outbreaks sallow in comparison to the damage that is being done. And we have no way to stop it from spreading .”

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Health officials lower a swine carcass into an separated quarantined excavation in Hanoi. Photograph: Manan Vatsyayana/ AFP/ Getty Images

Currently the duel to contain the disease is being lost.” There are concerns that the disease will continue to spread across the countries in south-east Asia ,” said Dr Wantanee Kalpravidh, regional director for UNFAO, who “says hes” imagined the swine excitement disputes being reported by governments in the region were “underestimates”.

Wantanee said difficulties included the lack of compensation for pig farmers in south-east Asia whose flocks were gleaned, applying them little reason to report a disease outbreak, and fears that banning movement of boars and pork across territories would only create a” black market which is not feasible to control “.

The implications of the outbreak are already being felt beyond Asia. Global pork prices have risen by nearly 40%, and long term it is likely to lead to more pork importations from Europe and America to meet demand, which will likewise push up world-wide flesh tolls. Busines commentator Rabobank said global pork affords could fall by 8 %.

In Vietnam, the first swine fever speciman was detected in January this year in northern Vietnam , not far from the border with China. Last week, agriculture diplomat Nguyen Xuan Cuong corroborated the virus had now spread to 48 of the country’s 63 states. The district has now culled about 2m animals, or 6% of the country’s herd, a figure that is expected to rise steeply.

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A signboard about African swine fever at Incheon international airport in South Korea. Photograph: Suh Myung-geon/ AP

” The world and Vietnam have never faced such an extremely dangerous, difficult, complicated and costly epidemic as this ,” Cuong said in a statement last-place month.

The economic and social impact is likely to be huge for Vietnam. Pork accounts for 75% of all flesh devoured in the country and it is an industry worth 94 tn dong( PS32m ). Overall, the agriculture sector in Vietnam utilizes almost 50% of the labour force, with pork farming a substantial part of that.

Speaking in parliament, Cuong urged consumers and businesses to stockpile pork ahead of likely dearths towards the end of the year. The government has also mobilised police and armed to help contain the outbreak but has stopped short of declaring it a national emergency.

In Cambodia, around 2400 animals have died or been culled due to the disease in the past two months, while in Hong Kong two separate examples led to there being no fresh pork in the country for a week.

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White antiseptic gunpowder is dispersed on the grime around a boar raise in northern China’s Hebei province. Photograph: Sam McNeil/ AP

But Pfeiffer was not optimistic Thailand– which has more than 2m animals- could balk the pandemic spreading from neighbouring Vietnam and Cambodia, or China, for much longer, saying it could probably enter” through pork produces brought in illegally from Vietnam and China, even if only by tourists or truck drivers “.

” The virus survives so well and there are so many people circulating particularly between China and Thailand, it’s hard to see how it could be contained for much longer ,” he added.

Read more: https :// www.theguardian.com/ world/ 2019/ jun/ 06/ millions-of-pigs-culled-across-asia-african-swine-fever-spreads-thailand-

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