October 9, 2018 / 12:33 PM / 7 days ago

Brazil detects form of swine fever in remote region

SAO PAULO (Reuters) - An outbreak of a form of a viral hog disease known as “classical swine fever” has been confirmed in the northeastern state of Ceará, the Brazilian agriculture ministry said in a statement on Monday, adding it was unlikely to hurt the pork meat trade.

The outbreak was confirmed on Oct. 6, more than 500 kilometers (310 miles) away from an area considered free of the disease by the World Organization for Animal Health, the government said.

The news does not alter the international status of that region, and would not have an impact on the trade of pork meat and its derivatives, the ministry said.

Brazil is the world’s fourth largest producer and exporter of pork.

The outbreak was confirmed on a family-owned pig farm “with no links to commercial establishments,” the government said, adding that measures were being taken to contain the disease.

The Brazilian meat trade group ABPA said in a subsequent statement there was no risk to the country’s pork production stemming from the illness, which was confirmed 3,500 kilometers (2,175 miles) away from the main producing regions in the south of Brazil.

“There is no trade of pork products out of Ceará destined for Southeast, Mid-West and Southern (Brazilian) states, which minimizes the contamination risk further,” ABPA said.

Some 17 Brazilian states, not including Ceará, are considered free of the disease by the World Organization for Animal Health, ABPA said.

Classical swine fever is considered “notoriously less severe” than the so-called African swine fever, the trade group said, referring to a disease that is also caused by a virus and currently affecting hog herds in China and Europe.

However, in a paper updated in October 2015 by the U.S.-based Center for Food Security & Public Health, classical swine fever is described as “a highly contagious and economically significant viral disease of pigs.”

China has detected several cases of the highly contagious virus African swine fever since discovering the first outbreak on Aug. 3, raising concerns about its spread in the world’s largest pork producer and beyond its borders.

The Brazilian government said it was strengthening controls at the São Paulo international airport, the country’s busiest, to help prevent African swine fever by monitoring the entry of food products by passengers.

Reporting by Ana Mano; Editing by Bernadette Baum

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