African Swine Fever has been branded the most serious animal health disease ever, as it continues to spread across Asia.
Science reported that in recent weeks, ASF has jumped borders to Vietnam, Cambodia, Mongolia, Hong Kong, and possibly North Korea, while animal health experts agree that the disease will inevitably spread farther.
Dirk Pfeiffer, a veterinary epidemiologist at City University of Hong Kong, said: “This is probably the most serious animal health disease [the world has]had for a long time, if not ever.”
François Roger, an animal epidemiologist at the French Agricultural Research Centre for International Development, said that many of the newly hit countries are even less prepared to deal with ASF than China, they say, which has so far failed to end its outbreaks.
Mr Roger said: “Vietnam and Cambodia probably do not have the technical abilities to be able to control ASF.”
He said that the virus will soon surface in Myanmar and Laos, which have “weak veterinary infrastructures and surveillance systems,” and it may become endemic in Southeast Asia.
In the United States, the Wall Street Journal has reported that pork prices are expected rise as ASF decimates Chinese pigs.
The newspaper said McDonald’s, Burger King, Jimmy Dean and Dunkin’ all reportedly expect sausage and bacon prices to rise this year as China has to import pigs to make up for the 200 million hogs that are expected to die from the disease.
That quantity of lost pigs accounts for around 5% of the global meat market, according to the Wall Street Journal.
The US Department of Agriculture has said China could import 33% more pigs this year to meet domestic demand.