Malaysia declared free from African swine fever: Minister

Maricruz Casares
Setiembre 9, 2018

Bans on pork products from China may be widened as part of emergency measures to stem the global spread of African swine fever.

African swine fever, now spreading rapidly in China, is "here to stay", said the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization in a statement on Friday, adding that it was "almost certain" to reach other Asian countries.

More nations may follow, according to the FAO.

China reported four cases of African swine fever on Thursday alone, bringing the number of outbreaks to 13 since the virus was discovered in the country in early August.

African Swine Fever isn't harmful to humans but is nearly always fatal for pigs.

However, the FAO apparently believes the ASF outbreak is more daunting than the Chinese government has admitted, especially considering that China produces more than half of the world's pigs.

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Since then, five other cases have been reported in other areas of China as much as 1,000 kilometers apart.

"By this Friday, we will come up with a framework for the region with priority action plans for each country", said Wantanee Kalpravidh, regional manager of the FAO's Emergency Center for Transboundary Animal Diseases, in an interview on Wednesday. "And once it spreads to Asian countries, we could have big social chaos and instability", said Young S Lyoo, from the College of Veterinary Medicine at Konkuk University in South Korea.

To help prevent the potential risk from becoming a reality in the United States, swine industry experts have compiled critical points for pig farmers to raise with their feed and feed ingredient suppliers with the objective of starting a dialog about feed ingredient safety.

"It's extremely serious because of the importance of pork in people's diet and culture, not only in China, but in this region as a whole, whether it's the Korean peninsula or Vietnam or other countries", Mr Lubroth said.

New Zealand Pork chair Eric Roy said the government needed to step up surveillance of the spread of the disease and consider more stringent controls of pork imported from affected countries.

Although China is a major pork producer, the majority of its production is consumed domestically.

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