Global distribution of African swine fever from 2016 to 2021
The World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) has reported an outbreak of African swine fever (ASF) at a pig farm on China's Hainan island. A major outbreak of the virus in 2018 saw pork prices pushed up as output fell. On Tuesday, the OIE issued a notification saying that ASF, which is harmless to humans but deadly to pigs, had been reported at a pig farm in China. The farm is located on Hainan, an island just south of mainland China.
A 2021 Chinese study estimated that the 2018-2019 outbreak contributed to a total economic loss of more than 1% of China's gross domestic product in 2019. The outbreak led to the deaths and culling of hundreds of millions of pigs and a huge rise in the price of pork - China's most-eaten meat.
Tuesday's report is not the first such outbreak of swine flu registered in China this year. Earlier in 2021, a number of cases were noted in Sichuan - the country's top hog-producing province. China is the world's top pork producer and is home to half of the globe's pigs.
Meanwhile, China's neighbor Vietnam has reported hundreds of African swine fever outbreaks in Vietnam's central localities in the past few weeks, forcing authorities to take drastic action to prevent the disease from further spreading.
In central Thanh Hoa province, the disease has hit 42 communes of 10 districts and towns this year. Nearly 2,200 pigs, weighing over 150 tons were culled, provincial media Thanh Hoa Radio and Television reported Tuesday. Meanwhile, authorities of central Quang Binh province said Monday that so far, 41 communes of eight districts and towns have been affected by the swine fever, with nearly 2,100 pigs weighing roughly 121 tons culled.
Several localities in central Vietnam, including Nghe An, Ha Tinh, Quang Nam, and Quang Tri provinces, have announced hundreds of swine fever outbreaks, noting that the situation has been more complicated since September.
Measures are being taken to encircle, control and extinguish the outbreaks. There are very high risks that the swine fever will occur and further spread in the remaining months of this year, said the Department of Animal Health under the Vietnamese Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development.
Changing weather, increasing slaughtering, transportation, and trading of pigs in the time to come, and fewer resources available to counter the swine fever due to COVID-19 were among the main reasons for the outbreaks, according to the department. By the end of October, over 1,900 African swine fever outbreaks were confirmed across 57 localities nationwide, leading to the culling of nearly 160,000 pigs or 0.6 percent of the country's total herd, local media cited the department as reporting.
2019, has become the year when the pork farming industry began to unravel in China, which produces half of the world's pork. In 2019, pork sales dropped by almost one-third because 200 million pigs had been culled or died from being infected as African swine fever spreads through the country.
According to a Rabobank report, China’s pork production was seen at around 38 million tonnes in 2019 versus 54 million tonnes in 2018. That would be the lowest level in at least 20 years, according to the National Bureau of Statistics data, with repercussions across the global market for all animal proteins.
That decline would be nearly 30 percent larger than the annual output in the United States and equivalent to Europe’s yearly pork supply, Rabobank added.
With the arrival of Covid in the last couple of years, the African Swine Flu threat has gone largely unreported in the MSM, however, the threat to the pig supply has not gone away.
There is no known cure for African Swine Flu and the mortality rate is 100%, if an unfortunate pig catches the disease it is fatal. At the moment the disease is harmless to humans, however...
An infectious disease expert at the University of Alberta says it's shocking to hear about Canada's first human case of a rare swine flu variant, but she hopes it's likely a one-off situation. Dr. Lynora Saxinger, an associate professor in the department of medicine, wrote on Twitter "what fresh hell is this"[?] when she first heard about the case in central Alberta. TBW