HCMC acts to stop African swine fever outbreak from spreading further

By Minh Tan   June 13, 2019 | 05:34 pm GMT+7
HCMC acts to stop African swine fever outbreak from spreading further
African swine fever has prompted Vietnam to cull two million pigs in several months. Photo by AFP.

HCMC authorities have stepped up measures to prevent the African swine fever from spreading further after declaring its first case Tuesday.   

On Wednesday, local authorities established two checkpoints on Nguyen Duy Trinh Street in outlying District 9, where the first case of African swine fever in the city was detected in a farm in an effort to control the spread of the incurable disease that doesn’t affect humans.

More than 163 infected pigs at the farm have been culled and the outbreak is under control, city officials said.

The two checkpoints are around 500 meters from the disease-hit farm. Relevant authorities sprinkled dozens of bags of lime flour on the road surface to disinfect the affected area. Trucks carrying poultry products and traveling in and out the epidemic area will be stopped by traffic police for spraying disinfectant.    

Local authorities sprinkle lime flour on Nguyen Duy Trinh Street in District 9 where the first outbreak of African swine fever was detected on Tuesday. Photo by VnExpress/Minh Tan

Local authorities sprinkle lime flour on Nguyen Duy Trinh Street in District 9 where the first outbreak of African swine fever was detected on Tuesday. Photo by VnExpress/Minh Tan

District chairman Nguyen Dinh Tri said members of the household in the disease-hit farm will be restrained from leaving their house and only veterinary staff are allowed to enter the area with protective clothing and masks. They also have to disinfect themselves before and after work.

All alleyways in the vicinity will be guarded, and people are prohibited from carrying pork and chicken products in and out the epidemic area, Tri said.

The remaining six pig raising households in the district have been asked to take epidemic prevention steps.  

Le Thi Kim Chi, vice chairwoman of District 9, said local authorities have increased control over surrounding areas, too.

The district would continue blocking its gateways to prevent pigs of neighboring provinces from entering the city until the disease is completely wiped out, she said.

Le Viet Bao, head of the city’s Animal Health Department, said HCMC currently has four checkpoints to control the disease in outlying districts like Thu Duc, Hoc Mon, Xuan Hiep and An Lac. In addition, three other inspection teams were on guard on national highways in 24 districts to tighten control over pigs and pork products brought into the city.

With HCMC, the total number of cities and provinces in Vietnam affected by the African swine flu has now jumped to 55 of 63, including the other four major cities, Hanoi, Hai Phong, Can Tho and Da Nang.

As of Tuesday, Vietnam had culled 2.45 million infected pigs. African swine fever virus is shed in blood, saliva, tears, nasal secretions, urine, faeces, and secretions from the animal's genital tract. Pigs can therefore become infected by contact with many different infected sources, mainly infected pigs, pork, and other pig-derived products like swill and fomites like bedding, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization.

African swine fever, which has no cure but does not affect humans, first hit Vietnam in early February and quickly spread across the northern and central regions before reaching the south in early May.

With the country estimated to lose VND3.6 trillion ($154 million) from the disease so far, Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc has called for severe penalties for anyone trying to subvert efforts to contain it, saying that "fighting African swine fever is like fighting invaders."

Vietnam has the seventh largest number of pigs in the world, 30 million, and is the sixth largest pork producer. Pig farming provides a livelihood to 2.4 million households, according to official figures.

Pork makes up 70 percent of the average Vietnamese diet. The Ministry of Industry and Trade is looking at frozen pork supplies as a fail-safe plan for a possible pork shortage. The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development has warned people not to expand their herds of pigs and advised them to switch to others like buffalos, cows and poultry or aquaculture.

Latest data collected by June 6 from the World Organization for Animal Health shows 13 countries and territories are suffering from new or ongoing outbreaks of the disease: Belgium, Hungary, Latvia, Moldova, Poland, Romania, Russia, Ukraine, mainland China, Hong Kong, North Korea, Vietnam and South Africa.

 
 
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