Thursday, August 30, 2018
African swine fever has been found again in China, this time in Nanling county, part of the city of Wuhu in China’s Anhui province. Located directly west of Shanghai, it is the fifth province reported to be affected by the disease in the last month. One farm with 459 pigs was found to be infected, with 80 killed by the virus and the other 379 destroyed. Further control measures are being put in place in the surrounding area. To date, around 24,000 pigs have already been culled in China since the beginning of the epidemic. Except for the first outbreak, the following four occurred in a radius of 347 miles, all located in the northeast region of the country.
This case is relatively small, especially compared to an ASF infected farm in Romania where 140,000 pigs are being killed this week. However, the widespread nature of the reported cases continues to cause concern, as no mechanism of transmission has been reported and, conversely, potential mechanisms suggest the potential for many more cases. The trade and transport of pigs is, of course, a major concern and should be easily identified through traceback of farm inventories. Contamination of trucks, along with inadequate sanitation should also be relatively easy to trace.
If a connection between the herds is not easily identified, it suggests that there are other contaminated materials that are being transferred between farms, with history showing the most likely being contaminated pork products fed to pigs, people or equipment moving between farms and/or feed ingredients.
The additional concern is that these methods of transmission also increases the likelihood that other countries, including the US, can also be affected. This risk is exemplified by the fact that South Korea detected evidence of the virus in foods containing pork that were brought in by airline passengers coming back from Shenyang on August 3rd.
The US pork industry organizations have developed a list of actions that could help prevent and then, if needed, respond to an ASF incursion. They have been shared with USDA and urgent work and further discussion about them is ongoing. Urgent prevention initiatives are prioritized above response initiatives.
Immediate pork producer actions can include: