China confirms second ASF case, prompting fears of further spread

A second case of African swine fever (ASF) has been detected in China, prompting fears the virus could already be widespread across the country.

The latest case was found in a slaughterhouse where 30 pigs died of ASF. The facility, located in the city of Zhengzhou in the Henan province, is owned by Shuanghui, part of the WH Group, the world’s largest pork producer, according to a global surveillance report from the US-based Swine Health Information Center.

The pigs came from Tangyuan district of the city of Jiamusi, in the Heilongjiang province, which is more than 500 miles to northeast of the first reported case on August 3. The distance from the farm to the slaughterhouse is approximately 1,400 miles by road, travelling through areas with high pig density, the surveillance report noted.

The Government is implementing measures to halt the disease, including closing the abattoir, implementing movement restrictions and culling pigs.

“This new outbreak signals that there may be a number of concerns about the status of ASF in China,” the SHIC report said.

“The distance between the original detection in Shenyang and this newly identified farm, as well as slaughterhouse, shows that the disease is being transported widely. The areas of concern now involve multiple Chinese provinces and heighten the likelihood of further cases.”

Reuters reported that that the provincial veterinary official investigating the second case in the Heilongjiang province said it wasn’t clear where or how the pigs in Zhengzhou caught the disease. However, the Heilongjiang authorities were investigating whether the pigs were infected in the northeastern province bordering Russia.

The Chinese press is reporting that the outbreak started as early as April of this year. Investigations have shown that that the owner of the farm where the first case was detected in the Hunnan District, Shenyang city, Liaoning province, purchased 45 pigs from a farm where some pigs became ill and died in April.

After the first outbreak in Liaoning, which was also the first in East Asia, Japan suspended imports of heat-treated Chinese pork and has tightened quarantine operations at airports and seaports, Reuters added.

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Editor of LBM titles Pig World and Farm Business and group editor of Agronomist and Arable Farmer. National Pig Association's webmaster. Previously political editor at Farmers Guardian for many years and also worked Farmers Weekly. Occasional farming media pundit. Brought up on a Leicestershire farm, now work from a shed in the garden in Oxfordshire. Big fan of Leicester City and Leicester Tigers. Occasional cricketer.