August 6, 2018 / 10:37 AM / 12 days ago

China to launch emergency inspections on farms after swine fever outbreak

(In August 6 story corrects headline to say swine fever not swine flu)

BEIJING (Reuters) - China’s Liaoning province will increase inspections at pig farms and markets and strengthen the monitoring of hog transportation, after the nation’s first African swine fever case was reported there, local media Liaoning Daily reported on Monday.

The African swine fever outbreak poses a major threat to the hog farming industry in the province and the whole country, and must be eradicated thoroughly, an official from Liaoning Provincial Bureau of Animal Health and Production said, according to Liaoning Daily.

The provincial government has asked local authorities to launch emergency inspections at all pig farms, hog markets, slaughterhouses and harmless treatment sites in the province, and report any cases of pig deaths due to unknown reasons, slaughtered pigs found with splenomegaly or splenic hemorrhage, and immune failure among pigs after receiving swine fever vaccines, the paper reported, citing the animal health bureau.

Liaoning also ordered the temporary closure of all live hog markets and slaughterhouses in Shenbei district, where the outbreak was discovered, the paper reported.

China culled some 913 hogs near Shenyang, the capital of Liaoning, and banned transportation of hogs from the affected areas, following the outbreak.

Hogs and products in Shenyang can only be distributed within the city, while those transported from outside must go through strict quarantine, the animal health bureau official said.

The case in Liaoning, the first in East Asia, has stoked concern about its spread in China, which has the world’s largest pig herd, and possibly to neighbouring countries in Asia.

Japan has suspended imports of heat-treated Chinese pork and tightened quarantine operations at airport and seaports, following the outbreak.

Local authorities in Liaoning must put affected pigs under strict quarantine and monitoring once suspected cases were discovered. The movement of susceptible animals, and their products must also be restricted, the report said.

Reporting by Hallie Gu and Josephine Mason; Editing by Christian Schmollinger

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