Efforts vs swine fever ramped up in China
BEIJING — A senior agricultural official said local authorities must respond swiftly and effectively when an outbreak of African swine fever occurs to stop the disease from spreading.
Yu Kangzhen, vice-minister of agriculture and rural affairs, made the remark during a four-day inspection he led in sites crucial for control and prevention of the disease in Heilongjiang and Jilin provinces and the Inner Mongolia autonomous region between Sept 18 and 21.
The sites included pig farms, ports of entry on the China-Russia border and animal health inspection stations on highways, a statement released by the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs said on Sunday night.
The supervision team included officials from the ministry, the National Health Commission and the Ministry of Public Security. Problems they found were reported to local governments.
Customs officials across China have intensified their efforts to control and prevent the disease. In Hefei, Anhui province, where eight African swine fever cases have been identified since August, customs officials have stopped importing products made of pork from countries and regions where the disease is prevalent, and inspections have been intensified for the carry-on items, parcels and luggage of inbound passengers.
Yu urged local officials to take prompt measures following an outbreak, including the quarantine and slaughter of pigs, so the disease can be contained and eliminated in the shortest possible time.
Local authorities and businesses will be held accountable for failing to take responsibility for disease control and prevention to ensure the safe production and supply of pork, he said.
China has reported 20 African swine fever outbreaks as of Monday, since the first case of the disease was discovered in Liaoning province on Aug 1.
The latest case killed two pigs in Hohhot, Inner Mongolia, on Saturday. Quarantine measures were imposed in the area, the ministry said.
Zhu Zengyong, an agriculture analyst at the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences, said China still faces risks of African swine fever being imported, as the disease has been in circulation in countries close to China－even in some Eastern European countries.
“How well the disease can be controlled is to a great extent decided by the implementation of disease control and prevention measures, such as quarantines and the slaughter of animals suspected of having it,” he said.
There is currently no treatment or vaccine available to cure or prevent African swine fever, which is highly contagious and has a mortality rate of virtually 100 per cent in pigs. It does not affect humans.
Since the outbreaks, agricultural authorities in China have taken many measures to control and prevent the disease, including conducting monitoring and inspections covering the raising, trade and slaughter of pigs to eliminate risks.
In Shandong province, the provincial animal husbandry and veterinary department has closed all live pig trade markets in the province, and suspended transport of live pigs out of or into the province.
In a circular released last week, the department also urged pig farmers in the province to seriously carry out disease control and prevention measures, including slaughtering infected animals, sterilising the carcasses and avoiding feeding pigs kitchen leftovers.
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