Friday 7 May 2021
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Fears of swine fever among almost a quarter of Chinese pigs again

A dead pig washed up on the north coast of Taiwan tested positive for African swine fever of the same kind as that prevalent in China. This is the first case of that ASF virus found in Taiwan. Meteorologists say the carcass may have drifted from China to Taiwan.

The dead pigs were discovered by the Coast Guard last weekend. The light-colored skin differs from the local variety of pigs, which is black. After a DNA test, the AVP 100% was found to match two AVP sequences previously found in China.

Measures are being taken to protect local pigs, the Agriculture Council said at a news conference Tuesday (April 6). More than 2,700 black boars at 11 Taiwanese farms near the discovery will be tested and the farms disinfected.

Last week, industry sources and analysts reported that there may be another wave of African swine fever in China killing at least 20% of the breeding stock. Those unconfirmed reports come from northeastern China and Henan province, the country's third-largest pig-producing province.

“In the first quarter, at least 20% of livestock was affected in the northeastern provinces, perhaps even 25%,” said Jan Cortenbach, chief technical officer at animal feed group Wellhope-De Heus Animal Nutrition.
A report from investment company Cifco Futures said Henan Province lost between 20% and 30% to its breeding sows and the damage could be “irreversible”.

According to an analysis by Reuters news agency, the presence of AVP is a significant setback for China in rebuilding its pig herd, which was halved by AVP in 2018. There was some consolidation and recovery at the end of 2019 and last year, but an exceptionally cold winter and higher pig density are now triggering a new wave of outbreaks.

“This feels like 2018, 2019 all over again,” said a China-based manager with a company that supplies major pig producers. China's Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs did not respond to requests for comment.

Food security is a sensitive issue in China, and the government has confirmed that there have been few outbreaks of African swine fever since the virus began to spread. Numerous industry insiders have described the impact as worse than the official data shows.

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