The UN’s Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) has provided updated numbers on the number of animals affected by African Swine Fever (ASF) across the Asian continent.
Following the outbreak, more than 5.7 million pigs have been culled in Vietnam alone, with millions of other animals having to be destroyed across other countries including the Philippines, China, Cambodia, Myanmar and more.
What is African Swine Fever?
African Swine Fever Is a highly contagious viral disease found in pigs. African Swine Fever first emerged from East Africa in the early 1900s. The disease causes pigs to have extremely high temperatures of up to 41⁰C. Other symptoms include a loss of appetite, lethargy and visibly blotchy skin. It is seen as one of the most deadliest animal diseases impacting domestic pigs.
The disease can result in death almost all pigs and wild boar that are infected. There is currently no vaccine available to treat the virus. Therefore, bio-security is essential in controlling and preventing the spread of disease.
How does it spread?
African Swine Fever is considered to be spread through direct contact with other infected animals. It is suspected that the wild boar population were the first carriers of the disease and are the reason for the wide spread of the virus. African Swine Fever can also be carried through insects such as ticks.
Meat products have become a concern as it has been discovered that ASF can survive several months in processed meat, and several years in frozen carcasses. In various airports across South East Asia, meat products brought in by travellers have been confiscated and tested positive for African Swine Fever.
Poor management of waste products resulting from an outbreak of this nature can lead to further spread of the disease. This, together with the land and water becoming infected, can potentially see the disease become present in the food and drink we eat.
As such, it is essential that countries affected by this outbreak take steps to prevent the spread of African Swine Fever and effectively destroy any infected materials.
Here, we detail the steps countries must follow during an African Swine Fever outbreak:
1. Identify the presence of African Swine Fever
Slaughterhouses and farms must conduct self-inspection in line with national guidelines and if African Swine Fever is detected on premise, production must stop for 48 hours. Each country affected will issue technical guidance on the exact steps that must be followed.
2. Create buffer zones
Immediately implement buffer zones to separate African Swine Fever affected zones from disease-free zones. In the Republic of Korea, the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (MAFRA) has set up multiple buffer zones. They are even using firearms in designated areas to drive wild boars away from infected area.
3. Stop the movement of animals
Even pigs who aren’t yet infected mustn’t be allowed to move from infected areas. Vietnam has had to cull a higher number of pigs than any other affected country. The government has issued a directive implementing movement control of pigs as part of a ‘response, control and prevention’ process to stop the spread of African Swine Fever.
4. Store waste safely
If you have animals affected by African Swine Fever and they die or are culled, their carcasses must be stored safely in an isolated space until it can all be safely destroyed. This same process also includes any additional waste or by products, or equipment used to test for African Swine Fever or handle the animals.
5. Destroy infected waste
Use an incinerator to effectively destroy all infected and contaminated waste. The key benefit of incineration over all others is its superiority in bio-security. No other waste management process can give you complete peace of mind when a disease outbreak like African Swine Fever occurs. Destruction of fallen livestock at source is the preferred and safest solution. Due to the high calorific value of pigs and sows, our models can be adjusted to control the amount of fuel being injected – thus reducing operating costs even more.
Our animal incinerators can be deployed and installed overseas within just seven days, as seen in our effective handling of the Ebola outbreak in Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone.
They’re fitted with advanced AI technologies and remote support functions, allowing farm and slaughterhouse workers to pre-programme their combustion conditions to accurately destroy all traces of African Swine Fever without teams on the ground needing to worry.
Recent Updates On African Swine Fever
In 2018 alone there has been over 360,000 cases of the ASF virus, effecting a total of 19 countries. Romania seen the largest number of reported cases for 2018 with more than 240,000 confirmed cases of African Swine Fever, wiping out a third of the countries pig population.
Since arriving in China in 2018, over 1,192,000 pigs have been culled to date, across different provinces. This causes major concern for global meat production as China is one of the biggest producers of pork in the world. The average Chinese person consuming up to 30 Kg of pork products a year, compared to the UK with an average of 21 Kg per person.
With a large majority of the Chinese population relying on pig production for income, local businesses and livelihoods are at serious risk as a result of the deadly virus.
Since the first outbreak of African Swine Fever was reported on 19th February 2019, more than 5,880,000 pigs have been culled across 63 provinces.
Alongside Vietnam, African Swine Fever has also reached Cambodia, Mongolia, North Korea in the last year. The most recent reported outbreaks of African Swine Fever have come from Laos. Recent updates show that 15 out of the 18 provinces have been continuously reporting outbreaks of ASF.
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