Despite announcing new outbreaks of African swine fever (ASF), the disease situation in China is under control, according to the agriculture ministry. ASF has returned to South Africa, spread to a new region of Ukraine, and infected more backyard herds in Bulgaria.
The ASF situation in China is “under effective control,” according to agriculture minister, Han Changfu. Restrictions relating to 108 of the 122 outbreaks in the current wave have been lifted, he said, adding that the production of live pigs and pork supply are “generally stable.”
Nevertheless, Xinhua reported Han’s comment that China faces a grave situation in ASF prevention and control because of the nature of the disease, and the dispersed pattern of pig production in the country.
Throughout the past two weeks, official reports from the agriculture ministry in Beijing to the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) include ASF in two new regions — in Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region and Tibet Autonomous Region — as well as new cases in Yunnan.
The first outbreak in Xinjiang — China’s most northwesterly region — was in the first week of April, affecting a pig herd of 200 animals in the capital, Urumqi. Since then, a further two outbreaks have been confirmed at farms in Kashgar prefecture, including at a county breeding farm. These three outbreaks have led to the loss of more than 1,100 animals in Xinjiang through mortality or destruction.
To the south of Xinjiang lies Tibet, where ASF had been identified for the first time one month previously, in early March. Official reports to the OIE from China’s agriculture ministry outline three confirmed outbreaks in the area of Nyingchi city (also known as Linzhi) — the first at a farm in the town of Bujiu, and later in smaller herds in Bahe and Yigong. In all, 5,750 pigs have been lost to the disease in Tibet.
As well as Xinjiang and Tibet, Yunnan province in the southwest of China has also recorded a new ASF outbreak. A total of 105 pigs of a village herd numbering 301 animals died in the area of Shangri-La city in Yunnan at the beginning of April. There had been a previous outbreak in Yunnan in mid-February.
Mongolia declares freedom from ASF
The country’s animal health agency has declared the ASF situation to be “resolved” to the OIE.
There were 11 confirmed outbreaks of the disease in Mongolia between the start of 2019 and the most recent that started on February 6.
First Vietnamese region free of ASF
Three provinces in Vietnam — Ha Noi, Hung Yen and Hai Duong — are the first to declare that ASF has been successfully contained. According to Vietnam News, these are the first to make such a declaration, which is possible after 30 days without any new infections.
The same source reports that ASF has been reported in 23 of Vietnam’s provinces and cities up to April 6, and 73,000 pigs have been culled.
ASF returns to South Africa
ASF virus has been confirmed as the cause of death of the majority of the 36 pigs at a farm in Ditsobotla in South Africa’s North West Province in early April, according to the official report from the Agriculture Department to the OIE.
The disease was last detected in the country in December 2018, and contact with wild species is thought to be the source of the latest infection. The outbreak occurred outside the country’s ASF Control Zone.
Europe: New ASF cases in domestic pigs in Romania, Ukraine
Throughout the past two weeks, the veterinary authority in Romania has reported to the OIE four new outbreaks of ASF in domestic pigs. All cases were in small backyard herds at locations in the southeast, east and northwest of the country.
Ukraine’s state animal health service has reported to the OIE the return of ASF to one region after an absence of one year, and new outbreaks in two areas that have reported previous cases recently.
Last reported in April 2018, ASF has returned to the western region of Khmelnytskiy, according to the official report, with four cases among a herd of 547 animals.
The ASF virus has also been detected in a backyard herd of five animals in the southern province of Mykolaiv, and another 30 pigs in Donetsk in the southwest.
After a five-month period without any new ASF cases in the province of Chernovtsy, the animal health agency has declared the disease situation “resolved” in this area of Ukraine.
Bulgaria’s agriculture ministry has also reported to the OIE that the ASF situation has been “resolved” in the eastern region of Varna. No new cases have come to light since a single outbreak there in August 2018.
According to the latest update from the European Commission (EC), there have been 109 outbreaks of ASF in Europe so far this year. Romania reported 82 of these outbreaks, Italy (16), Ukraine (10) and Poland (1).
ASF virus detected in more European wild boar
The ASF virus continues to circulate among the wild boar populations of central Europe and Belgium.
Reporting the largest number of cases to the OIE over the past two weeks has been Hungary (with 136 outbreaks), Poland (26), Romania (22), Belgium (10) and Latvia (3).
All of these outbreaks occurred in areas where previous cases had been confirmed, and where controls are in place to try to prevent the further spread of infection.
So far in 2019, 2,437 ASF outbreaks in wild boar have been confirmed in Europe, according to the latest EC update. Recording the largest number of outbreaks is Poland (888), followed by Hungary (568), Belgium (377), Romania (208), Lithuania (190), Latvia (122), Estonia (46), Italy (22), Bulgaria (11) and Ukraine (5).
View our continuing coverage of the African swine fever outbreak.