It's impossible to know just how many pigs have died from the disease but it is thought to be hundreds of millions.
According to a report by ABC, the second wave of African swine fever (ASF) is estimated to have killed almost 10 million pigs in China since the start of the year, detailing the country's plans to rebuild its national herd. New variants of the pig-killing disease African swine fever have emerged in Asia. Hundreds of millions of pigs were killed by the disease in the last couple of years, in China, Asia and Europe reducing the world's stock by more than 40%. The first reported outbreak of the disease was in August 2018 and within a year it had spread to multiple countries.
“This is the largest animal disease outbreak in history,” said Dirk Pfieffer, a veterinary epidemiologist at the City University of Hong Kong. “It makes the foot and mouth disease and BSE outbreaks pale in comparison to the damage, that is being done. And we have no way to stop it from spreading.”
Asia is home to nearly 5 billion people more than half of the planet's population and most of them rely heavily on a pork diet. China with a population of almost 1.5 billion people have suffered the biggest impact of African Swine Fever, more than 55% of Chinese pigs – hundreds of millions of animals – have now been lost, and the result has been a chronic shortage of pork and rocketing price. The disease is eating up pig populations of South East Asia. Vietnam and the Philippines have seen some of the worst outbreaks in the region. The latest country to report an outbreak of African swine fever (ASF) is Indonesia, specifically in the province of North Sumatra, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations confirmed on Dec. 12. The disease has also been detected in Mongolia, Cambodia, South Korea, North Korea, Myanmar and East Timor, according to the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation. Outside of Asia, the OIE said the disease is also present in parts of Eastern Europe and sub-Saharan Africa.
The disease is extremely hardy, can survive being cooked and processed, and will endure in frozen meat for a number of years. It is transmitted directly between animals, or by the feeding of infected meat, and there have also been cases of infected animal feed. In the UK it is now more a case of being prepared for it to arrive than trying to shut it out Zoe Davies, National Pig Association ASF has been circulating in Europe for a number of years, but it began to spread at a more rapid rate last year. It is now reported in more than 40 countries, and earlier this week was discovered to have leapt 300km across Poland from its easternmost provinces to farms near its western border.