Chinese New Year celebrations 'could spark DEADLY swine fever OUTBREAK' – shock warning
By Athena Chrysanthou, Express (UK)
Jan 8, 2019
AN increase in pork consumption over Chinese New Year festivities could cause fresh outbreaks of African swine fever, a veterinary expert has warned as contaminated meat risks being exported to other nations.
The disease could potentially obliterate herds of animals, with recent figures showing there are currently 87 outbreaks worldwide. Figures from the World Organisation for Animal Health confirmed 87 outbreaks are happening in eight countries worldwide. In China at least 200,000 pigs have been culled with 100 farms suffering outbreaks of the disease since August last year.
Reported in Reuters, analyst with consultancy China-America Commodity Data Analytics Yao Guilin said: “The African swine fever situation is only getting worse. Small farms, big farms, slaughterhouses, feed - the whole production chain basically got hit.”
A farm with over 73,000 pigs last week suffered an outbreak of the fever, which is the biggest farm to date to be hit by the disease.
The disease is highly contagious but cannot be caught by humans. It can however be carried in contaminated meat such as pork chops.
Chinese New Year is set to take place on February 5 and will see an increase in the consumption of pork as the country's most popular meat.
Professor of veterinary medicine at City University of Hong Kong Dirk Pfeiffer said China is the “Himalayas of pigs.”
China is home to between 50 and 60 percent of the worlds pig population.
Professor Pfeiffer said: “With Chinese New Year coming up, there will be more demand and more trade in pork and it’s likely that there will be an increase in outbreaks.”
The professor warned celebrations will encourage pork to be moved around the country, which is illegal.
He said: “Chinese New Year involves a lot of festivities. It is about eating at home with family, People want to eat meat, and in China they love pork, so it will create a lot of opportunity for pork to be moved around the country and also along the border. This is illegal, but it has always been a porous border.”
As of yet there is no vaccine developed for the disease, though UK researchers are working on finding one.
Chief executive of the National Pig Association said UK pig farmers were “exceptionally worried” about outbreaks in Belgium, which was first confirmed in September.
Dr Zoe Davies told The Telegraph in December: “The virus makes very big jumps. The jump from Eastern Europe to Belgium a couple of months ago was a very worrying development.”
Dr Davies said the disease was a “tenacious little virus” which could survive in frozen pork for three months.
She said Eastern Europeans working in farms in the UK present a risk.
“It would not be difficult for someone to bring some pork products from home back to the UK, discard them in a bin and they they could find their way into a pig”...