African swine fever in China almost certain to spread in Asia - FAO
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By Dominique Patton
BEIJING, Sept 7 (Reuters) - The African swine fever
spreading rapidly in China is "here to stay", the U.N. Food and
Agriculture Organization said on Friday, adding that it was
almost certain to spread to other Asian countries.
The fever was first detected in China in early August and
has been found in 18 farms or abattoirs in six provinces, with
many cases more than a 1,000 kms (621 miles) apart, the FAO said
in a statement.
With pork such a popular meat in many Asian countries, the
FAO said the spread of the virus to China's neighbours is a near
certainty, and likely through movements of products containing
"The geographical spread, of which ASF has been repeated in
such a short period of time, means that transboundary emergence
of the virus, likely through movements of products containing
infected pork, will almost certainly occur," said Juan Lubroth,
chief veterinary officer at FAO.
The response to the disease is "extremely challenging"
because the virus can survive for months in meat products,
animal feed and swill, said the FAO.
China has banned the transport of live hogs in provinces
where infections have been reported, a move that has idled
traders, crowded farm pens with unsold pigs, and left
slaughterhouses short of stock.
Pork prices in the country's populous south have spiked as
demand rises ahead of a week-long holiday in October and
highlights the prospect of imports.
Lubroth said the most likely explanation for the vast
distances the virus has spread in China is through processed or
raw pork products and less likely through the movement of live
Experts at an emergency meeting hosted by FAO in Bangkok
this week agreed to set up a regional network to collaborate and
respond when new outbreaks occur anywhere in the region.
(Reporting by Dominique Patton
Editing by Nick Macfie and Darren Schuettler)
First Published: 2018-09-07 10:15:15
Updated 2018-09-07 12:06:30
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