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FAO Viet Nam supports Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development to respond to Africa Swine Fever outbreaks

22/02/2019

Ha Noi, Viet Nam. The Department of Animal Health (DAH), Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) has confirmed its first African swine fever (ASF) outbreak detected in Hung Yen and Thai Binh provinces on 19 February 2019. All the pigs on the infected farms and in the surrounding area were culled in an effort to stop further spread of the disease.

Since the outbreak of ASF in China in 2018, FAO has provided technical assistance to DAH to develop the Viet Nam ASF national action plan for ASF emergency preparedness and response, and has conducted risk assessment and a simulation exercise on ASF outbreak response in Lao Cai province. FAO also organized the regional ASF Emergency Preparedness workshop for animal health officers from Vietnam, Lao PDR, Myanmar and China to increase collaboration to prevent the spread of disease in South East Asia.

“FAO Viet Nam will make every effort to support DAH to control ASF and to safeguard the livelihoods of farmers. We are currently mobilizing resources to support Viet Nam. We would like to highlight the pivotal importance of timely reporting of suspected cases, and of the implementation of the national action plan to facilitate effective control of the disease. Cooperation among stakeholders including farmers, traders, government agencies and the public is crucial to prevent further spread of ASF in Viet Nam” said Pawin Padungtod, Team Leader of FAO’s Emergency Centre for Transboundary Animal Diseases (ECTAD) in Viet Nam.

Currently, there is no effective vaccine to protect pigs from the disease and in its more virulent form (the one that entered China) ASF can kill 100% of affected pigs. Responding to outbreaks of ASF is extremely challenging, as the ASF virus can survive long periods of time in very cold and very hot weather, and even in dried or cured pork products or carcasses.

“Strict biosecurity in pig farms is critical to prevent ASF introduction. Without the investment and effort to improve biosecurity, farmers’ livelihood will be at risk since there is currently no effective treatment once ASF has entered the farm" Mr Padungtod added.

African swine fever (ASF) is a contagious viral disease of pigs and wild boar with up to 100% fatality rate, causing trade damage and economic losses to the global pig sector. However unlike swine flu, ASF does NOT transmit to and cause disease to humans. Originally restricted to Africa, ASF was introduced into Georgia in 2007, from where it spread into Central and Eastern  Europe. The disease has been reported in China since its first outbreak in Liaoning Province in August 2018. Since then  a total of 104 ASF outbreaks have been recorded in 25 Provinces and more than 950,000 pigs were culled.

FAO ECTAD Viet Nam has worked closely with DAH since 2006 to strengthen field and diagnostic capacity of DAH in responding to highly pathogenic avian influenzas with support from United States Agency for International Development and other donors. This capacity can be used to detect and respond to ASF incursion as well.

Facts about ASF

•    African swine fever (ASF) is NOT a danger to humans but kills domestic and wild pigs
•    Pork can still be safely consumed when cooked well
•    There is no effective vaccine which can prevent this disease in pigs
•    The virus can survive for a long time in the environment and in pork products

Recommended actions to pig farmers

•    Declare any suspicious case (dead or alive pigs) to animal health authority as ASF does not kill all of your pigs at one time but slowly the whole herd can die due to ASF
•    Respect sanitary precautions in your farm and at markets, frequent cleaning and disinfection of farms, transport vehicles, and improved husbandry practices and production systems
•    Prevent visitors from having unnecessary indirect or direct contact with your pigs
•    Do not feed untreated swill or kitchen scraps containing meat to your pigs
•    Do not give or sell dead pig to other people. Such pig should also not be fed to other animals
•    Implement quarantine measures for new pigs on farm
•    Do not move your animals or the products originating from domestic or wild pigs
(home-made products).

Recommended actions to the general public

•    Cook your pork well
•    Do not visit pig farms in affected areas
•    When you find dead pigs at a farm, report it to your local animal health authorities.
•    Do not carry pigs or pork products abroad. If you do, declare them to the authorities otherwise you will be penalized.

Useful resources and publications
•    http://www.fao.org/ag/againfo/programmes/en/empres/ASF/situation_update.html     
•    http://www.fao.org/ag/againfo/programmes/en/empres/ASF/index.html
•    http://www.oie.int/en/animal-health-in-the-world/animal-diseases/african-swine-fever/

Contact

Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) in Viet Nam
Ms Nguyen Thuy Hang
One Health Advocacy and Communications Coordinator
Tel: 84-24- 38501829
Email: Hang.nguyenthuy@fao.org