African swine fever reaches Tianjin as China reports new outbreaks

BEIJING (Reuters) - China’s agriculture ministry said on Friday an outbreak of African swine fever had been confirmed in Tianjin, the first to be reported in the municipality located just southeast of Beijing.

The fever was found on a farm that had 639 pigs, with 292 infected and 189 dying of the disease, according to a statement from the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs, which earlier on Friday reported a fourth outbreak this week in northeastern China’s Liaoning province.

The Tianjin case represents the closest African swine fever, which does not affect humans, has come to Beijing in around 30 outbreaks across China since Aug. 3.

Thousands of hogs have been culled in an effort to prevent the spread of the highly contagious fever, for which there is no vaccine, through the world’s largest pig herd.

Officials have previously spoken of the need to ensure the Chinese capital is supplied with sufficient amounts of pork amid the flurry of outbreaks.

There are few farms in the immediate proximity to Beijing but the Hebei province which surrounds both Beijing and Tianjin is a major pig-farmimg region. No outbreaks of swine fever in Hebei have been reported so far.

Reporting by Tom Daly; Editing by Manolo Serapio Jr. and David Evans