China slaughters 38,000 pigs to stop spread of swine fever
Another outbreak reported in Anhui province, bringing national total to six
More than 38,000 pigs have been culled across China, state media said on Sunday, as the world’s largest pork producer scrambles to contain an outbreak of African swine fever.
The Ministry of Agriculture said 134 hogs had died from African swine fever in Xuancheng in the eastern province of Anhui, bringing the total number of outbreaks in China over the past month to six, across five provinces.
Xuancheng is around 70km (45 miles) southeast of Wuhu, also in Anhui, where another African swine fever case was reported last week.
China reported its first case of the disease in August in the northeast province of Liaoning.
Since then the disease has moved south, with cases discovered as far as 1,000km away, raising concerns it could infect pig farms across the country.
Although the virus had continued to spread, an agriculture ministry said it was “generally under control”, Xinhua reported.
Last week, the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation warned the disease could spread to other parts of Asia.
African swine fever is not harmful to humans but causes haemorrhagic fever in domesticated pigs and wild boar that almost always ends in death within a few days.
There is no antidote or vaccine, and the only known method to prevent the disease from spreading is a mass cull of the infected livestock.
Beijing said an emergency plan had been launched and control measures taken to halt the spread of the disease.
The FAO warned in May of the risk of the spread of African swine fever from Russia.
Around half of the world’s pigs are raised in China, and the Chinese are the biggest consumers of pork per capita, according to the FAO.
Additional reporting by Reuters