African swine fever spreads to two more southern provinces

By Cuu Long, Nguyet Trieu   May 23, 2019 | 08:56 am GMT+7
African swine fever spreads to two more southern provinces
Two southern provinces of Binh Duong an An Giang have become the latest to report African swine fever in Vietnam. Photo by Shutterstock/Julia Lototskaya
Two more southern provinces, Binh Duong and An Giang, have reported outbreaks of African swine fever.

Animal health officials in Binh Duong, which neighbors Ho Chi Minh City, announced on Tuesday they had sanitized two infected areas in two communes after culling over 1,000 infected pigs.

An Giang authorities reported on Wednesday they destroyed 52 pigs. Preliminary investigations suggest the pigs might have contracted the virus from leftover cattle feed.

Both An Giang and Binh Duong have devised measures to curb the disease’s spread. The An Giang Livestock Production and Veterinary Department has set up eight checkpoints on roads and two others on the Tien and Hau rivers, the two tributaries of the Mekong in Vietnam.

African swine fever has been detected in at least 34 cities and provinces in Vietnam, and more than 1.5 million pigs have died or been culled, 5 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, Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, admitted recently.

The deployment of troops to contain the disease is necessary, he said.

African swine fever, a virus that is not dangerous to humans but fatal to pigs, was first detected in Vietnam in February. It has since spread to all regions of the country.

It reached the south in early May, infecting pigs on two farms in Dong Nai Province, home to the nation’s largest pig herd and a major source of pork supply to neighboring HCMC.

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.

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

12 countries are now infected with the disease, according to statistics ending May 9 by the World Organization of Animal Health. Three Asian countries in the list are Cambodia, China and Vietnam.

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