African swine fever spreads to Khanh Hoa, 44 pigs culled

By Phan Anh   May 15, 2019 | 07:38 pm PT
African swine fever spreads to Khanh Hoa, 44 pigs culled
The central province of Khanh Hoa just became the latest locality to be infected with African swine fever in Vietnam. Photo by Shutterstock/Dusan Petkovic
Khanh Hoa, home to the popular beach town Nha Trang, has become the latest province in Vietnam to report African swine fever.

The disease was detected in pigs reared by eight households in three communes in Dien Khanh District, the central province’s Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, said Wednesday.

Forty four animals were culled, and local authorities said they are closely monitoring the situation.

Four temporary animal checkpoints have been established in Dien Khanh to prevent pigs from coming in or leaving the district.

African swine fever has been detected in at least 30 cities and provinces in Vietnam, and more than 1.2 million pigs have died or been culled, 4 percent of the country’s total number, according to the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development.

If the disease spreads to large farms, there would be "extremely catastrophic consequences," Nguyen Xuan Cuong, the agriculture minister, said.

The deployment of troops to combat the disease’s spread is being considered, he added.

African swine fever, which infects all pig species through bodily fluids such as blood and mucus and causes hemorrhagic fever, was first detected in Vietnam in February. It has since spread to all regions of the country.

It reached the southern region in early May, infecting pigs in two farms in Dong Nai Province, home to the nation’s largest pig herd and a major source of pork supply to neighboring Ho Chi Minh City.

Just last weekend an outbreak was detected in Binh Phuoc Province, next door to Dong Nai.

Vietnam has the world’s seventh largest pig population and is the sixth largest pork producer, according to the Ministry of Industry and Trade.

Some 70 percent of meat products in Vietnam are from pigs, with over 10,000 farms and 2.5 million households raising the animal for food.

There is no cure for African swine fever, though humans are not affected by it.

The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) in March advised Vietnam to declare the swine fever outbreak a national emergency.

Twenty countries and territories have reported outbreaks since 2017 and over one million pigs have been put down, according to the World Organization for Animal Health. Vietnam is the third country in Asia to be hit after China and Mongolia.

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