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ASF-related pig losses mount in Asia, Africa

While a new wave of African swine fever is threatening the recovery of Vietnam’s pig sector from previous outbreaks, further cases are confirmed elsewhere in Asia.

Bangkok, Thailand – November 01, 2020 Asia, Magnifying Glass Clo
sasirin pamai |

While a new wave of African swine fever (ASF) is threatening the recovery of Vietnam’s pig sector from previous outbreaks, further cases are confirmed elsewhere in Asia.

Last week, a report from Reuters indicated that African swine fever (ASF) continues to threaten pig production in Vietnam. This development will set back the recovery in the nation’s pig output after the enormous losses in the initial disease wave. Starting in February 2019 and up to the same month of 2021, six million Vietnamese pigs were lost to the disease, according to official figures.

According to Reuters, local officials describe the current spread of infection as wide and “complicated,” and the number of animals culled so far this year is three times higher than in 2020.

In 2021, infections have been detected in more than 2,700 communities in Vietnam, and 230,000 pigs have been culled.

Over the first 10 months of this year, it was reported that there had been 1,900 ASF outbreaks across 57 of Vietnam’s 63 provinces and cities. At that time, around 160,000 pigs had been culled. Worst affected by the current wave of ASF outbreaks have been provinces in the North Central Coast and South Central Coast regions.

Malaysia registers further ASF cases

In November, the veterinary authority of Malaysia notified the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) about previous ASF outbreaks in domestic swine.

Cases continue to be confined to the state of Sabah on the island of Borneo. Confirmed between August 24 and October 22, the outbreaks directly impacted a total of 144 pigs in six village herds. Located in the districts of Papar, Tenom, and Kota Kinabalu were backyard herds, each with 5-28 pigs. In addition, an outbreak in the Sipitang district affected 60 animals in what is described in the official report as a “commercial herd.”

First ASF cases in Malaysia were reported in early February. Since then, the number of confirmed outbreaks stands at 52, with 1,419 pigs directly involved. In addition, 72 wild boar have tested positive for the virus. No cases have yet been reported outside Sabah state.

First ASF cases for one Philippines province

At the end of October, first cases of ASF were detected in Marinduque, an island province in the Mimaropa region of the Philippines. This is according to the latest update on the ASF situation in Asia by the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). Further cases were confirmed during the month of November on the island of Mindanao in the provinces of North Cotabato and Lanao Norte.

Recently, the veterinary authority has retrospectively notified the OIE about previous ASF outbreaks in domestic swine on the island of Luzon.

Latest report covers the period May 2020 to May 2021. Directly impacting around 21,500 pigs were 88 outbreaks. In herds ranging in size from two to just over 3,000 pigs, affected premises were confirmed in 15 provinces in four regions — Bicol, Cagayan Valley, Cordillera and Ilocos.

In July 2019, first cases of ASF on Luzon were reported to the OIE. Since then, outbreaks have continued across the island with official reports outlining 1,258 mortalities, and 414,000 animals culled.

Ahead of the Christmas holiday season, shoppers in Negros Orientale — in the Central Visayas region — are reminded not to buy pig meat products from ASF-infected areas. This advice comes from the local head of the Bureau of Animal Industry, reports the Philippine News Agency. To prevent spread of ASF to this province, only one meat processor’s products are authorized for sale.

To overcome these tight restrictions, some companies have switched from pork to chicken meat for their ham products, according to this source.

Further ASF cases in eastern Russia

First-ever cases of ASF have been detected in Russia’s Khanty-Mansi Autonomous region. According to the official report to the OIE, a number of animals in a backyard herd of 410 pigs tested positive for the virus. Tests were carried out after around half the herd died in mid-November. The region is located in the Urals federal district.

In the Far Eastern federal district, one additional outbreak of ASF confirmed in a backyard herd brings the total in the Khabarovsk region to 18 since July. Of this total, 16 outbreaks were in domestic pigs, involving a total of 574 animals. The latest cases were in a herd of 201 pigs, five of which died. The other two outbreaks affected wild boar.

Also in the Far East, five wild boar tested positive for the ASF virus in November. Three of the animals were from the Amur region, and two were in Primorsky.

ASF news from other Asian states

With a total of seven cases, the South Korean province of North Chungcheong has registered its first case of ASF, according to the FAO. Testing positive for the virus was the carcass of a wild boar around 40 kilometers from the border with Gangwon, where many previous cases have occurred. As of November 25, a total of 1,718 infected wild boar have been confirmed in South Korea.

FAO reports that in Indonesia, more pigs have tested positive for the ASF virus after a spike in mortality in West Kalimantan. Located on the island of Borneo, this province shares a border with Sabah province of Malaysia.

From the Lao People’s Democratic Republic (Laos) comes news that ASF virus has been found in samples taken from some sick pigs in the northwestern province of Vientiane, according to the FAO.

ASF developments in South Africa, Uganda

In South Africa’s Western Cape, one new outbreak has been confirmed in an official report to the OIE.

According to the country’s veterinary authority, 13 out of 16 pigs died in a village herd in the city of Cape Town in mid-November.

This brings to 36 the number of confirmed outbreaks in this region, with more than 4,000 animals directly impacted.

In Uganda, farmers have reported the loss of more than 200 pigs to ASF. According to Monitor, the disease has been affecting the Kasese district in the Western Region of this East African state for the past month.

In November, the same source reported new ASF cases in the same region’s districts of Bushenyi and Sheema.

According to the OIE, ASF is considered to be endemic across much of sub-Saharan Africa, including Uganda.

Caribbean region’s ASF outbreaks felt in South America

Earlier this month, concerns over the threat of ASF led Guyana to ban all pork imports. According to Kaieteur News, the ban came into immediate effect.

As well as the ban on imports, the nation’s livestock development agency has warned farmers to be alert for signs of the disease, and to maintain biosecurity. Furthermore, it has urged the general public not to visit pig farms, or to bring pork products on return from overseas visits.

This official advice follows outbreaks of ASF in two Caribbean states over recent months. First cases of the disease were officially reported in the Dominican Republic in April, and in Haiti in August.

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

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