May 14, 2019

More than 1.2 million pigs culled as Vietnam deals with swine fever


Vietnam has confirmed on May 13 that the country culled more than 1.2 million farmed pigs which were infected with African swine fever (ASF) as authorities warned that the virus could spread further.

Most of Vietnam's 30 million farm pigs are consumed domestically, with pork accounting for three-quarters of total local meat consumption. ASF was first detected in the country in February and had reached 29 provinces, including Dong Nai, which supplies around 40% of pork consumed in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam's southern economic hub.

In a statement, the government described the development of the outbreak as "complicated." It said many provinces had failed to detect outbreaks and cull infected pigs properly due to a lack of funds and the space needed for burying the dead pigs.

In March, the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) advised Vietnam to declare the swine fever outbreak a national emergency.

The ASF virus, which is not communicable to humans, can be spread by live or dead pigs, domestic or wild, and via pork products. Symptoms in animals include high fever, weakness, skin lesions, diarrhea, vomiting and difficulty breathing. Death can occur within a week of infection.

There is no treatment or vaccine for the disease, and the only way to stop it is to cull all affected or exposed swine herds. Affected animals have now been reported in every province in China, and the disease has spread to neighbouring Mongolia and Cambodia.

- Reuters / Washington Post