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China allays fears over spread of ASF

Elsewhere in Asia, there are further cases of African swine fever in South Korea, Indonesia, the Philippines, Russia’s Far East and Vietnam.

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In China, a recently reported spike in outbreaks of African swine fever may already be under control.

After a one-month hiatus, a further African swine fever (ASF) outbreak has been confirmed in South Korea.

It brings to 33 the nation’s total outbreaks in domestic pigs since 2019, and it is the fifth farm to be affected so far in 2023.

Last week, around 50 pigs died out of the 12,842 animals at the farm, reports the Yonhap news agency. Located in the city of Pocheon, the premises is in the northwestern province in Gyeonggi, and around 40 kilometers from the capital, Seoul.

At the affected premises, culling of the remaining animals is being carried out.

Within a 10-kilometer radius of the infected premises are around 80 farms with an estimated 170,000 pigs.

According to the usual procedure after a confirmed ASF outbreak, South Korea’s authorities imposed a 48-hour standstill on all pig movements, which ended on March 22. These latest restrictions covered all of Gyeonggi, the city of Incheon, and the northern part of Gangwon province, reported Yonhap.

Since 2019, wild boar in South Korea have also tested positive for the ASF virus. As of March 23, the total has reached 2,968, according to Pig People. This is an increase of 31 from the source’s previously reported total on March 13. Infected wild boar have been found in four provinces, mainly in Gangwon and Gyeonggi in the north of the country.

Exaggeration alleged over ASF situation in China

This month, a global news agency reported a sharp rise in ASF cases on China’s pig farms. Particularly affected were companies in the north of the country, with one analyst forecasting a 10% contract in pork output this year.

However, a recent update by NBD presents a less alarming assessment of the disease situation in China. While other analysts confirm that there have been some ASF outbreaks on farms, these have affected fewer premises in March than in the previous month. Furthermore, they report, outbreaks have not been widespread.

According to pork industries, it is not surprising that there have been recent reports of a re-emergence of ASF. This they attribute to the onset of cold weather and the difficulties of thorough disinfection of workers entering farms, as well as greater worker mobility.

So the NBD report plays down the spread of ASF on Chinese pig farms, while warning that developments in the situation need to be carefully monitored.

ASF spreads in Philippines province

In the Philippines, ASF appears to be spreading to other parts of Cebu province, reports the Philippine News Agency (PNA).

This month, a “state of calamity” was declared by the authorities in Carcar City after a series of confirmed outbreaks, and now the infection has spread to Cebu City. Furthermore, cases have also occurred in four other towns — Liloan, Tuburan, Sibonga and Bogo City, reports PNA.

As a result, the governor of Cebu has issued an executive order, reports PNA. This sets out the required disease control measures, which are now required in six communities, including the provincial capital.

According to the latest PNA report, ASF is contained in Cebu City. Blood sampling of pigs in 11 communities identified further cases, and these pigs have been culled.

Disease developments elsewhere in Asia

After a hiatus of more than five years, ASF has been detected again in the Krasnoyarsk region of eastern Russia.

According to an official notification to the World Organisation for Animal Health (WOAH), the veterinary authority confirms an outbreak among 306 pigs at a premises described as a “backyard” in mid-March. In this region of the Siberian federal district, the source of the infection is unknown.

On the Indonesian island of Sulawesi, the number of pigs so far affected by ASF has reached almost 900. This is according to the latest update on the disease in Asia by the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO; as of March 16). First cases have been confirmed in the province of Central Sulawesi, with 60 known cases. There have been around 600 cases in South Sulawesi, and 244 in the island group making up East Nusa Tenggara.

FAO also documents the spread of ASF in Vietnam. Up to March 10, 68 outbreaks had been confirmed in 22 provinces/cities. This is nine more areas than the previous update at the end of last month. While still well below the country’s situation one year ago, it has resulted in the culling of up to 3,000 pigs.

Study: Injection needles can spread ASF virus

ASF virus is easily transmitted on needles during intramuscular injections, according to recently published research in Thailand.

From their results published in a recent paper published in Nature Scientific Reports, the authors concluded that needle-sharing increases the risk of transmitting the virus through blood. Furthermore, the higher the blood virus titers, the more severe were the symptoms in the pigs subsequently injected intramuscularly. In contrast, pigs administered an injection into the skin with a needle-free device did not develop symptoms of ASF, or shed the virus, when they were treated after an infected animal.

View our continuing coverage of the global African swine fever situation.

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