China confirms new case of African swine fever in Wuxi City
Farmers, slaughterhouses, processors all suffer as transport of live hogs shuts down in affected regions
A new case of African swine fever has been confirmed in Wuxi in eastern China’s Jiangsu province, China’s agriculture ministry said on Monday.
The latest outbreak killed nine pigs and infected another 12 on a farm with 97 pigs, the ministry said.
Earlier in the day, the ministry said two African swine fever cases had been reported in Anhui province and that 2,310 hogs had been culled as of September 2.
The transport of pigs and pork products was banned on Sunday from and through Chinese provinces which have reported outbreaks of African swine fever, following a sixth case of the highly contagious virus, which is not harmful to humans.
Watch: 20,000 pigs culled amid African swine fever outbreak
Live hog markets have also been shut down in the regions, in the most drastic measures yet by China’s Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs as it works to contain the outbreak amid growing concerns about its spread through the world’s largest pig herd.
For the first time, live hogs from unaffected provinces cannot be transported through those that have reported infections, a move expected to significantly disrupt the country’s pig trade.
Until now, authorities had only stopped transportation of pigs and products and shut live markets in and around infected areas.
Five provinces have been affected since the country’s first-ever case of the deadly virus a month ago: northeastern Liaoning, central Henan and the eastern provinces of Anhui, Jiangsu and Zhejiang.
The prohibition effectively prevents slaughterhouses and meat processing factories from using pigs or pork from these regions.
In Henan, one of China’s top pig producing regions, stocks have jumped because farmers there can no longer sell animals to other parts of the country, said an agent surnamed Ni who trucks pigs around the province.
“I haven’t had any business in the past two days because there are too many pigs in the market,” he said. “Prices are bad and there is not much demand.”
Ni said he used to transport up to 700 pigs a day, but current volumes are around 700 a week.
“Costs will go up and it will take much longer to get pigs to the consumption areas,” Ni said.
Shares in meat processor Shandong Longda Meatstuff fell 6.3 per cent on Monday morning to 6.8 yuan (US$1), while major feed and pig farming firms Beijing Dabeinong Technology Group and New Hope Liuhe were also down, by 2.6 per cent and 1.5 per cent, respectively.
The agriculture ministry said 134 hogs died from the disease in Xuancheng city, in the second outbreak in eastern China’s Anhui province.
Xuancheng is around 70km (43 miles) southeast of Wuhu city, where another African swine fever case was reported last week.
The ministry said it had culled more than 38,000 hogs as of September 1.
Epidemic culling has basically finished in Liaoning, Henan, Jiangsu and Zhejiang provinces, where a total of 37,271 hogs were culled. Another 1,264 hogs were put down by Saturday in Anhui.
Last week, the government warned it cannot rule out the possibility of new outbreaks, highlighting its challenge in controlling the disease.
The virus is transmitted by ticks and direct contact between animals, and can also travel via contaminated food, animal feed and people moving from one place to another.