African Swine Fever (ASF) is a disease that affects pigs and has been detected in areas more than 1,000 kilometres apart within China, this mean it could spread further. The United Nation's Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) said there was no effective vaccine to protect these swines from the disease because the outbreak had gotten to 100% of infected animals. The Chinese authorities through their efforts to control the spread of the disease culled over 24,000 pigs.
China being a major pig-producing country estimated the global population of swine at 500 million. ASF in China had been detected and diversed geographical spread in China which had raised fears that the disease will move across border to neighbouring countries. The FAO's ECTAD communicated with authorities in China to monitor and respond to the situation and also in neighbouring countries to the threat of further spread of ASF. However, restriction on the movement of animal and pork products had been warned by the FAO which could lead to illegal methods of transportation.
The government animal disease control report claimed this was the first ever case of ASF in Asia. The FAO carried out risk assessments and concluded that most likely the north-eastern region of the country is the area to be affected by the swine disease. Culling affected and susceptible animals are the disease control measures that have been put in place across the infected areas. A news report stated that countries like Japan, has tightened quarantine operations at airports and seaports. Japan will be using more sniffer dogs than usual and alerting travellers about the outbreak of ASF in China. China is the home of the global pig population and also the largest consumer of pig meat, operating in the northern, central and southern regions.
African Swine Fever (ASF) is spreading across the world and nobody is quite sure how to stop it. China, Romania and Moldova all reported confirmed cases of ASF in recent weeks leading to major meat passing nations to take action. A confirmed case of ASF, although harmless to humans, means that whole herd including infected animals has to be destroyed at significant cost to the producer and at even more cost to the reputation of that nation's domestic industry.
In the UK, the Department for Environmental, Food & Rural Affairs is on the alert for any incidences of ASF, especially the ones that are hitting mainland Europe. Effective communication keep relevant parties up-to-date on any ASF- related happenings. The UK's Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) has focused its advice on the issue of feeding waste or meat products to pigs and how it can introduce and spread swine disease in animals.
In the US, the major trade bodies in the pork industry have banded together to examine how ASF might be prevented from spreading. The action group has been looking further up the food chain to the feed and how ASF might be using it to travel from country to country. Although, not every piece of feed can be examined for ASF, it has detailed out some sensible questions for pork farmers to ask their feed supplier if they are concerned.
Perhaps a taboo subject at the moment if the US, but one suggestion the pork industry action group has not put forward the building of a wall as ASF prevention into Denmark and Poland. The two countries reliant on the pork industry and got Denmark especially, it would be catastrophic if ASF hit. Poland has quietly been putting together formidable meat industry and just as it is coming into its own, a knockback like ASF would set it back years. Denmark is obviously more established as a pork producer but ASF would be a massive hit to one of its primary industries.
One of the ways suggested to protect this industry from ASF in pigs was to build a fence on the border to stop errant pigs wandering in from neighbouring countries, as well as increasing fines for violations that could lead to ASF entering Denmark. Poland has the same idea and is already putting plans in motion to erect a fence. This investment obviously worth it if it keeps ASF out of their countries.
The Chinese confirmed another case of African Swine Fever (ASF), this time hitting the Southern Province of the country. The Information Office revealed that a confirmed case of ASF occurred in Zhenxiong County, Zhootong City and Yunnan Province. A report received by the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs that the Yunnan Provincial Center for Animal Disease Control and Prevention received samples for diagnosis that proved to test positive for the swine disease.
The local government has started emergency response procedures including setting up a blockade, willing treatment, disinfection to treat all sick and culled pigs harmlessly. All pigs and their products are prohibited from being transferred out of the blockade and pigs are prohibited from being transported. It is the first time the disease has hit the Yunnan Province.
The government officials of UK have warned poultry keepers to put in place measures to prevent the outbreak of Newcastle disease, following cases in Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg. The Animal and Plant Health Agency experts revealed that the risk of UK flocks being affected by the disease had risen. The Newcastle disease is caused by a virulent strain of paramyxovirus which can spread through direct contact with the bodily fluids of infected birds. Some precautions were then issued by the government for poultry keepers to minimise the risks.
The poultry keepers were urged to remain cautious by looking out for the symptoms in birds such as respiratory distress, nervous behaviour and lack of appetite. If poultry farmers were suspicious of bird flu in their flock, the government then said they should contact a private vet and the Animal and Plant Health Agency immediately. Public Health England has advised that the risk of Newcastle disease affecting people is very low.
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