‘Unpredictable’ African swine fever spreads to two more Vietnamese provinces

By Vo Hai   March 7, 2019 | 03:30 am PT
‘Unpredictable’ African swine fever spreads to two more Vietnamese provinces
A pig infected with African swine fever is disposed of in Hop Thanh Village, Hoa Binh Province. Photo by VnExpress/Khuong Luc
The incurable African swine fever has spread to the northern provinces of Hoa Binh and Dien Bien, bringing the total number of infected localities to nine.

Hop Thanh Village in Luong Son District, Hoa Binh Province, detected an outbreak Tuesday, while Bon A and Long Luong villages in Dien Bien also detected multiple outbreaks recently.

"African swine fever is behaving unpredictably due to its diverse vectors, a lack of a cure and a 100 percent mortality rate," Phung Duc Tien, Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, said Wednesday.

Over 6,400 pigs have been killed/died and disposed of, as of Wednesday, according to the Veterinary Department of the agriculture ministry.

Local authorities should sanitize affected areas and control the transportation, selling and butchering of pigs to curb the disease’s spread, Tien said.

African swine fever was first detected in the northern province of Hung Yen early last month. Since then, it has spread to over 330 households, 49 villages and 20 districts in nine Vietnam provinces and cities, including the capital Hanoi.

Other infected localities are Hai Phong City, and Hung Yen, Thai Binh, Ha Nam, Hai Duong provinces in the north and Nghe An Province in central region.

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.

Some countries and territories are banning pork imports from Vietnam following the numerous African swine fever outbreaks, including Taiwan, Dubai, the U.S. and the U.K. Violators face heavy fines and even imprisonment.

The African swine fever is a viral disease that infects all pig species through bodily fluids such as blood and mucus, causing hemorrhagic fever. There is currently no cure for it.

However, humans are not affected by the disease.

Twenty countries and territories have reported outbreaks of the disease since 2017 and over one million pigs have been culled, according to the World Organization for Animal Health. Vietnam is the third Asian country hit by the disease, following China and Mongolia.

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