China's Heilongjiang province investigates suspected new African swine fever case

BEIJING, Aug 16 (Reuters) - China’s Heilongjiang province is investigating a suspected case of African swine fever (ASF), an official said on Thursday, stirring concern that the deadly pig infection may have spread after a first outbreak was reported earlier this month.

The official, a director of the Heilongjiang Provincial Animal Husbandry and Veterinary Bureau, told Reuters that pork processing company Henan Shuanghui Investment & Development reported that it had discovered a suspected case of the disease. Shuanghui is the Chinese unit of the world’s top pork producer, WH Group Ltd.

The news of the suspected case, in a northeastern province bordering Russia, comes almost two weeks after another northeastern province, Liaoning, culled thousands of pigs after the nation’s first outbreak of African swine fever.

“We have sent two batches of experts from the (Heilongjiang) province and central government to Tangyuan county this morning, where the suspected outbreak was reported,” the official said. (Reporting by Meng Meng, Hallie Gu and Josephine Mason Editing by Kenneth Maxwell)