China culls 1,000 pigs as first case of African Swine Fever confirmed

Officials and pig producers are on high alert as China confirms its first case of African Swine Fever (ASF)
calendar icon 3 August 2018
clock icon 3 minute read

The highly virulent and contagious disease hit the Liaoning Province in northeast China where almost 1,000 pigs have already been culled in a bid to try and prevent further spread.

This latest outbreak was discovered on a small farm with 383 pigs in the Shenbei New district of Shenyang on Wednesday (1 August), and was confirmed today (3 August) after 47 pigs had died. The remaining 336 pigs were also culled as a precaution.

China is home to the world’s largest pig herd so the industry is frantically working to ensure the disease is contained. The latest statistics state that the Chinese herd totals more than 433 million head – over half the world’s pig population which currently stands at 769 million. The European Union is home to the second largest pig herd at 150 million head, followed by the United States with 73 million.

This is the first time ASF has hit eastern Asia but has already been found in Europe, parts of Africa and Russia. The latest outbreak in China is also a huge concern for the pig sectors in Japan and Korea.

Once the outbreak was detected the Chinese officials from the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs sprung into action: banning farmers from transporting pigs from the affected areas, and also banning the feeding of pigs with untreated food waste.

As a further precaution to contain any spread of the disease, officials have now culled almost 1,000 pigs and warned farmers to be on the lookout for any signs of ASF.

There is no vaccine for ASF which is one of the most deadly diseases to hit any pig herd. ASF is usually transmitted by ticks and direct contact between pigs. Mortality rate in pigs is high but humans are not affected by the disease.

For information on how to spot ASF and other notifiable diseases, visit The Pig Site's Disease Problem Solver

By Chris McCullough

Emily Houghton

Editor, The Pig Site

Emily Houghton is a Zoology graduate from Cardiff University and was the editor of The Pig Site from October 2017 to May 2020. Emily has worked in livestock husbandry, and has written, conducted and assisted with research projects regarding the synthesis of welfare and productivity of free-range food species.

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