February 20, 2019 / 6:55 AM / a month ago

China confirms African swine fever hits Shandong province as national outbreak spreads

BEIJING (Reuters) - China’s agriculture ministry said on Wednesday it has confirmed the country’s ongoing African swine fever outbreak continues to spread across the nation, hitting the major livestock production province of Shandong in the east for the first time.

The highly contagious disease was found on a farm with 4,504 pigs in the provincial capital Jinan, infecting 17 of the animals and killing three hogs, the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs said in a statement. The disease is fatal to pigs, but doesn’t harm people.

China, home to the world’s largest hog herd, has now reported more than 100 cases of African swine fever in 27 provinces and regions since last August.

The Shandong case came after Guangxi region in China’s south reported its first African swine fever outbreak on Tuesday.

Further to the south, neighboring Vietnam also confirmed it had detected its first cases of the virus.

(GRAPHIC: Swine fever in China IMG, tmsnrt.rs/2QMhmzL)

Shandong produced 47 million pigs in 2017, about 7 percent of the total hogs sent to slaughterhouses in the same year in China, official data showed.

Jiangsu and Henan provinces, both neighboring Shandong, reported cases of the disease as early as last August.

China has restricted transport of live pigs and banned kitchen waste in feed, in an effort to control the spread of African swine fever.

A major Chinese frozen food producer said on Monday that it recalled products that may be contaminated with African swine fever, following media reports that some of its dumplings tested positive for the virus.

Reporting by Tom Daly and Hallie Gu; editing by Richard Pullin and Kenneth Maxwell

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