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African Swine Fever: A viral disease with 100% fatality rate

01/03/2019

African swine fever (ASF) is a viral disease affecting pigs and wild boar with up to 100% fatality rate. The China Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs (MARA) confirmed the disease outbreak in Liaoning Province on 3 August 2018. Up to 18 January 2019, 103 ASF outbreaks detected in 24 Provinces / Autonomous Region / Municipalities. More than 916 000 pigs have been culled in an effort to halt further spread.

ASF was reported in Yunnan Province less than 150 km from the Myanmar in late 2018. Although Myanmar is at high-risk for introduction, there is no report on an ASF outbreak in Myanmar yet.

To control outbreaks, the Government of China set the epidemic zones and buffer zones, introduced strict movement control of live pigs, and closed the live pig markets in infected and adjacent provinces. Feeding “swill” or food waste to pigs was banned.  As ASF was detected in a wild boar, MARA released a “notice on ASF detection kits” recommending ASF rapid test kits to be used until 30 June 2019 for field use, or at slaughterhouses before distribution. As of 11 January 2019, 71 epidemic zones have been lifted since there was no further detection for 6 weeks after culling of pigs within an affected zone. In addition, no new ASF outbreaks were reported during this period.

The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) has recommended the countries of the region to strengthen intraregional networks on disease management and diagnostic protocol.  FAO also recommends better understanding of pig and pork value chains within the country and with neighboring countries as an essential task for improved risk management.

In response to the crisis,

  • In September 2018, the FAO Emergency Centre for Transboundary Animal Diseases (FAO-ECTAD) organized the “Emergency Regional Consultation on African Swine Fever on Risk Reduction and Preparedness” in Bangkok.  Global experts, including from China and Europe, contributed. Myanmar and other at-risk countries participated and mapped risk to virus incursion.
  • In November 2018, FAO and MARA jointly organized the “Multilateral Cross-Border Meeting in Greater Mekong Subregion to Strengthen Collaboration of Transboundary Animal Disease Control” in Beijing, China which included “African Swine Fever Emergency Preparedness Training” for Lao PDR, Myanmar, Vietnam and China. Publications on ASF were distributed
  • Now, on request from the Myanmar authorities, FAO is organizing an Emergency Management Centre-Animal Health (EMC-AH) mission to Myanmar to assess the situation and advise on preparedness and control. The World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) will fund a team member.
  • The updates of the disease and FAO’s recommendations can be seen at the following link: http://www.fao.org/ag/againfo/programmes/en/empres/ASF/Situation_update.html