In this file:


·         African swine fever keeps spreading in Asia, threatening food security

·         African swine fever hits Vietnam's Mekong Delta

·         Can air passengers bring African swine fever in their luggage?

·         Taiwan to improve border inspections against ASF: COA

·         Global pork prices to soar on back of China ASF crisis

·         ASF Vietnam: Virus out of control as it reaches HCMC



African swine fever keeps spreading in Asia, threatening food security


By Dennis Normile, Science Magazine

May. 14, 2019


SHANGHAI, CHINA—The spread of African swine fever (ASF) in Asia is taking a worrisome turn. First reported in northeastern China in August 2018, the highly contagious, often fatal pig disease quickly swept through the country, causing the death or culling of more than 1 million pigs. In recent weeks, it has jumped borders to Vietnam, Cambodia, Mongolia, Hong Kong, and possibly North Korea. Animal health experts agree that the disease will inevitably spread farther. And many of the newly hit countries are even less prepared to deal with ASF than China, they say, which has so far failed to end its outbreaks.


Vietnam and Cambodia “probably do not have the technical abilities to be able to control ASF,” says François Roger, an animal epidemiologist at the French Agricultural Research Center for International Development in Montpellier. He believes the virus will soon surface in Myanmar and Laos, which have “weak veterinary infrastructures and surveillance systems,” and it may become endemic in Southeast Asia. If so, it would pose a continuing threat of reintroduction into China, even if that country succeeds in controlling its own outbreaks. A reservoir of endemic disease could also pose a wider threat: ASF-contaminated pork products have already been confiscated from air travelers in South Korea, Japan, Taiwan, and Australia.


The crisis is not only causing economic hardship, but also threatens food security in the region. In Vietnam, where pork accounts for three-quarters of the meat consumption, more than 1.2 million pigs across the country—4% of the national herd—have now died or been killed, the Vietnamese government announced on 13 May. “This is probably the most serious animal health disease [the world has] had for a long time, if not ever,” says Dirk Pfeiffer, a veterinary epidemiologist at City University of Hong Kong.


ASF is harmless for humans but spreads rapidly among domestic pigs and wild boars through direct contact or exposure to contaminated feed and water. Farm workers can unwittingly carry the virus on shoes, clothing, vehicles, and machinery. It can survive in fresh and processed pork products; it is even resistant to some disinfectants.


Endemic in most of Africa, the ASF virus jumped to the nation of Georgia in 2007 and has since spread through Russia. It probably entered China in imported pork products last summer. Infected animals suffer high fever, internal bleeding, and, most often, death, and there is no treatment. “There are promising vaccines under development,” says Yolanda Revilla of the Severo Ochoa Center for Molecular Biology in Madrid, who co-authored a recent review on ASF vaccines—but they’re still at least 3 or 4 years away from the market. Until then, reducing transmission is the only option.


But keeping the virus at bay is fiendishly difficult given how small holders in Asia raise their pigs. Swill feeding—giving pigs kitchen and table waste in which the virus can persist—is “a common practice, but very high risk,” says Juan Lubroth, chief veterinarian at the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations’s (FAO’s) headquarters in Rome. Studies of 68 outbreaks in China concluded that 34% were caused by swill feeding, 46% by contaminated vehicles and workers, and 19% by the transport of live pigs and products.


The Chinese government has banned the use of nonheated swill and doesn’t allow swill feeding at all in provinces with ongoing outbreaks. But convincing farmers to drop this and other risky practices is a challenge, Lubroth says.


To stem outbreaks, China also culls all pigs in a 3-kilometer zone around an infected herd, sets up inspection and disinfection stations to control farm traffic within a 10-kilometer buffer zone, and closes live pig markets in the affected region. But how well such measures are protecting the country’s more than 400 million domestic pigs is unclear. The monthly number of new outbreaks reported to the Paris-based World Organisation for Animal Health peaked in October 2018 at 34, dropped to just four in January, but has gradually climbed since then, hitting 10 in April.


Many observers believe other outbreaks go unreported...





African swine fever hits Vietnam's Mekong Delta


Source: Xinhua (China) Editor: xuxin



HANOI, May 14 (Xinhua) -- Vietnam's southern Hau Giang province has been stricken by African swine fever (ASF), becoming the first locality in the country's Mekong Delta to be hit by the disease, local online newspaper VnExpress reported on Tuesday.


A total of 68 pigs raised by two households in Vi Thuy district have been infected with ASF, and then culled, the newspaper quoted the provincial Department of Agriculture and Rural Development as saying.


In Hau Giang, over 15,000 households currently raise pigs with a total pig population of some 160,000.


Since the first ASF outbreak was detected in early February in northern Hung Yen province, the disease has so far spread to 29 localities nationwide, mostly in northern and central regions, according to the newspaper.


ASF had occurred in 2,296 communes in 204 districts of 29 cities and provinces as of May 12 in Vietnam...





Can air passengers bring African swine fever in their luggage?

Data showed risk was highest in summer and five airports account for greater than 90% of the risk.


By Andres Perez and Maria Sol Perez, University of Minnesota; Cristina Jurado and Jose Manuel Sanchez Vizcaino, Universidad Complutense de Madrid, Spain; Beatriz Martinez, University of California, Davis; and Lina Mur, Kansas State University

via National Hog Farmer - May 14, 2019


African swine fever is a disease caused by a virus that is not present in the United States, but that has been expanding extensively globally over the last few years. Clinical signs associated with ASF infection may vary from a subclinical form, with only unspecific signs of disease (such as fever) to high and sudden mortality rates. Despite the nature of the clinical signs, if the ASFv was introduced into the U.S., the industry will be deeply affected, including restrictions to movements and trade. For that reason, prevention is critical for the industry.


In 2018, ASF spread into Western Europe, and, for the first time, into China affecting 28 provinces and in early 2019 Mongolia and Vietnam reported their first outbreaks. Because the ASFv is highly resistant and because of such dramatic change in the global epidemiological conditions of ASF, there have been concerns the disease may continue to spread into disease-free regions, such as the U.S.


A study recently conducted by the University of Minnesota Center for Animal Health and Food Safety in collaboration with ASF experts from the Universidad Complutense de Madrid, Spain, and with funding provided by the National Pork Board and the Swine Health Information Center concluded that the risk for ASFv introduction into the U.S. via smuggling of pork in air passenger’s luggage has dramatically increased in 2018 and 2019, compared to previous years. Specifically, results suggest the mean risk of ASF virus introduction into the U.S. in this way has increased 183%, compared to the risk estimated before the disease spread into China, East Asia and Western Europe in 2018 and 2019.


Results also suggest it is likely (mean probability ~ 1) ASF virus is currently reaching U.S. airports in air passengers’ luggage, prior to customs inspection, which is consistent with the detection of ASF virus in seized pork in a number of Australian and Asian airports. Likely, the risk decreases substantially after customs inspection. Most of the risk (greater than 50%) was associated with flights originated from China and Hong Kong, followed by the Russian Federation (27%). Data showed risk was highest in summer and five airports (Newark, New Jersey; George Bush, Houston, Texas; Los Angeles, California; John F. Kennedy, New York; and San Jose, California) account for greater than 90% of the risk. 







Taiwan to improve border inspections against ASF: COA


By Wu Jui-chi, Chen Chun-hua and Evelyn Kao, Focus Taiwan News Channel 



Taipei, May 14 (CNA) The Council of Agriculture (COA) is to increase border inspections against African swine fever (ASF), COA Minister Chen Chi-chung (陳吉仲) said Tuesday during an inspection at Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport.


The ASF-positive rate among pork products from overseas was nearly 8 percent in April and is expected to rise to 15 percent this month, according to Chen.


Between Aug. 27, 2018 and May 11, 2019, a total of 1,463 pork products were tested for ASF, including 1,297 from China, 114 from Vietnam and 52 from other countries and regions, with 57 (55 from China and two from Vietnam) testing positive for ASF, according to statistics compiled by the central epidemic command center for ASF under the Executive Yuan.


The ASF-positive rate was particularly high among products from China, accounting for 0.6 percent, 1.1 percent and 2.2 percent of the total in October, November and December 2018, respectively, and 6.2 percent, 8.0 percent, 3.9 percent and 7.6 percent in the first four months of this year. In May, nine products have so far tested positive for ASF and the rate is expected to rise to 15 percent.


The figures show that the risk of ASF being introduced into Taiwan from China remains high and cannot be ignored, according to the center.


The deadly and highly contagious virus has made inroads into China's food industry, leading to the high ASF-positive detection rate, Chen noted...





Global pork prices to soar on back of China ASF crisis


By Alistair Driver, Pig World (UK)

May 14, 2019


Global pork prices will soar over the next few years on the back of Asia’s ‘incredible crisis’ as African swine fever (ASF) takes a massive toll on pig production, according to analyst Richard Brown, director of Gira.


Mr Brown opened the Pigs Tomorrow conference in Leicestershire, on Tuesday, with an overview of the staggering implications of Asia’s ASF outbreaks. The virus is rampant in China and has spread beyond China to Vietnam, Cambodia and, in all likelihood, beyond.


He said the scale of the crisis was ‘bigger than BSE’ and the ‘biggest deal we have had to talk about’ in his distinguished career.


As the scale of the outbreak in China has become clearer, Gira has radically revised its projections and is now forecasting a 24% drop in Chinese production. This could amount to 13 million tonnes in 2019, more than total US pork production.


There will not be sufficient availability of pork or other proteins to fill this gap and as a result China, which has traditionally consumed around half the world’s pork, will have to change its consumption habits.


Nonetheless, there will be an ‘absolutely massive’ supply shock in world pork, with a surge in import demand from markets where there will not be sufficient volumes to meet the demand.


Mr Brown predicted that pork products will be diverted from markets right across the globe, including the EU, US, Canada and Brazil, to fill the gap. Other meats, including beef, chicken and lamb, will also be in demand.


This will lead to ‘much higher’ pig prices and an expansion in pig production – the EU stands to benefit...





ASF Vietnam: Virus out of control as it reaches HCMC


Vincent ter Beek, Pig Progress

May 15, 2019


African Swine Fever seems to have conquered most areas of Vietnam as well. Although no updates on outbreaks have reached the OIE in almost 2 months, news trickles through the virus has spread south of Ho Chi Minh City, effectively covering the whole of the country.


From news updates from Vietnam an alarming picture emerges that the African Swine Fever (ASF) outbreaks have travelled to Binh Phuoc and Dong Nai provinces, in the south, close to Ho Chi Minh City. In addition, Hau Giang province in the deep south is also reporting ASF, as well as Khanh Hoa, north east of Ho Chi Minh City, at the coast. All these provinces have been given a red background colour in the map below.


As the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) has not been receiving updates from Vietnam for some while, the exact location of the outbreaks is sometimes difficult to give. According to reports by the newspaper VN Express, for instance, in total 2 farms in Dong Nai province and 3 sites in Binh Phuoc were affected.


ASF outbreaks in Dong Nai province


Dong Nai province is one of the most important provinces in Vietnam for swine production. There the virus was reported on farms in Trang Bom and Nhon Trach districts, wrote VN Express earlier this month. Both are relatively close to Ho Chi Minh City.


ASF outbreaks in Binh Phuoc province


Binh Phuoc province is located just north of that. According to a very recent update by VN Express, the virus was been confirmed in Dong Phu district, in 2 households in Tan Lap Commune and in 1 household in Tan Phu Town. The total of animals affected was 21, according to the media outlet.


That something is going on in the south of Vietnam is corroborated by the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), which has also been confirming the outbreaks in Dong Nai province in the south of the country on its page.


A veterinarian expert who recently travelled to Vietnam told Pig Progress: “Farmers in Vietnam just throw deceased pigs into the river. The ministry of agriculture does not want to admit that they totally failed to keep the virus under control.”


Culling 1.2 million pigs due to ASF ...


Military and police helping out ...


Provinces reporting to be free from ASF ...


more, including links, outbreak map