OIE says China faces long struggle to tackle African Swine Fever

The World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) said it will take years for China to contain the deadly African swine fever virus that has spread throughout the country.

Reuters reported that China has been struggling to control the epidemic, which some analysts predict could see up to 200 million pigs die or be culled this year, causing a huge shortage of pork locally and have economic impact on the meat and feed industry globally.

Outbreaks of the disease, which is not harmful to humans, has already been reported in almost every region of mainland China.

“China is going to deal with this African swine fever for many years to come,” the OIE’s deputy director general Matthew Stone told Reuters.

Beijing has said its breeding herd is 22% smaller than this time last year, but many in the industry say the impact of the disease could be much greater.

African swine fever has spread to neighbouring Laos, Mongolia and Vietnam and Mr Stone said there was a significant danger that the virus could reach other Asian countries in the coming months.

“The situation is going to continue to evolve in Asia because we know there is significant contamination of the meat and meat products supply chain and practices such as garbage feeding that may not be appropriately regulated,” Mr Stone said.

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