May 13, 2019 / 5:54 AM / 11 days ago

Vietnam culls 1.2 million pigs as African swine fever spreads nationwide

HANOI (Reuters) - Vietnam has culled more than 1.2 million farmed pigs infected with African swine fever, the government said on Monday, as the virus continues to spread rapidly in the Southeast Asian country.

Pork accounts for three-quarters of total meat consumption in Vietnam, a country of 95 million people where most of its 30 million farm-raised pigs are consumed domestically.

The virus was first detected in Vietnam in February and has spread to 29 provinces, including Dong Nai, which supplies around 40% of the pork consumed in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam’s southern economic hub.

“The risk of the virus spreading further is very high and the evolution of the outbreak is complicated,” the government said in a statement.

It said many provinces had failed to detect outbreaks and cull infected pigs properly due to a lack of funds and the space needed for burying the dead pigs.

The disease, which is harmless to humans but incurable in pigs, has also spread quickly across neighboring China.

The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) in March advised Vietnam to declare the swine fever outbreak as a national emergency.

Reporting by Khanh Vu; Editing by James Pearson and Joseph Radford

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