As of early December, China is reporting more than 80 cases of African swine fever (ASF) in 17 provinces and four municipalities, including Beijing, the capitol. Despite the best efforts by Chinese officials, the disease does not appear to be slowing its geographic spread.
At the recent Midwest Pork Conference held in Indiana, state veterinarian, Brett Marsh offered some insight into China’s current status. “We had hoped, of course, with the steps taken by the Chinese government that they could contain the virus,” he said. “That’s clearly not been the case as we continue to get new cases reported in new provinces.”
As reported by Hoosier Ag Today, Marsh says it’s imperative that producers are looking for things that are out of the ordinary or unusual. He says ASF won’t produce blisters on the snout or at the top of the hoof like some other diseases.
Marsh said, “Producers know their swine. They’re with them every day. They’ll know long before someone like me would know (that something is wrong), and so it’s critical that they’re looking for those unusual events.”
Marsh adds that updating your Premises ID will be critical should an outbreak ever occur here in the U.S. He also says there needs to be a strong relationship between you and your vet, and your vet and the state veterinarian’s office.
Other FADs in China
Aside from the battle with ASF, China is also fighting other foreign animal diseases (FADs) such as an outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) in Xinjiang province in the country’s far northwest. The reported case killed 46 pigs and infected 108 of the farm’s 331 pigs. In addition, China still has classical swine fever within its borders despite some improvement with the use of vaccinations. However, no regions have been declared free of the disease.
Status quo for ASF in Europe
Meanwhile in Europe, ASF continues its slow spread primarily via feral pig populations. The virus remains very limited in Belgium, but other nations have wider infections, including Poland, Ukraine, Czech Republic, Moldova, Hungary, Romania, the Baltics, Bulgaria and points east. Of course, Africa remains the origin of the virus where herds remain infected.