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Swine fever, China tries to throw water on fire

A report gives a less alarmist assessment of the disease in the nation

After repeated warnings about the spotty spread of swine fever, now China is stepping in and trying to allay fears. The recent spike in outbreaks of African swine fever may already be under control, government sources say, trying to put a patch on the spread of reports that see the plague, instead, expanding more and more.

What worries Chinese authorities is the tam tam of news about the spread of the disease: this month alone, news agencies have repeatedly reported a sharp increase in Psa cases on pig farms in China. According to reports, particularly hard hit have been farms in the north of the country: one analyst predicted a 10 percent drop in pork production this year. 

Throwing water on the fire then is none other than the New development bank, which, in a recent update, presents a less alarmist assessment of the contagion in the Asian country. In essence, the bank's report downplays the spread of Psa, African swine fever on domestic pig farms, while warning that developments in the situation must be closely monitored. Although other analysts confirm some Psa outbreaks on farms, the report argues, "fewer local farms were affected in March than in the previous month. Also, experts report, that the outbreaks have not spread". 

According to China's pig industries, then, it is not surprising that a recent resurgence of swine fever has been reported: this is attributed by insiders to the arrival of cold weather and the difficulty of thoroughly disinfecting workers entering farms, as well as the increased mobility of the same employees. 

Meanwhile, after a one-month hiatus, another outbreak has been confirmed in South Korea. This is the fifth farm to be affected so far in 2023, which brings the total number of outbreaks in domestic pigs since 2019 to 33. About 50 of the 12,842 animals on the farm died last week. Located in the city of Pocheon, the facility is in the northwestern province of Gyeonggi, about 40 kilometers from the capital Seoul. The remaining animals were culled at the facility.

Within a 10-kilometer radius of the infected site are about 80 farms with an estimated 170,000 pigs. Following the usual procedure after confirmation of a Psa outbreak, South Korean authorities imposed a 48-hour freeze on all pig movements, which ended on March 22. Since 2019, several wild boars in South Korea have also tested positive for the virus: as of March 23, the total came to 2,968. This is an increase of 31 from the total previously reported by the source on March 13. The infected wild boars were found in four provinces, mainly in Gangwon and Gyeonggi in the north of the country.

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EFA News - European Food Agency