China cleans 38,000 pigs while swine fever spreads

This photo taken on 10 august 2018 shows pigs in a pen at a pig farm in Yiyang province, in the central Henan province of China. AFP

BEIJING, China – More than 38,000 pigs have been cleared all over China, the state media said Sunday, while the world's largest pig producer is mistaken to prevent an outbreak of African swine fever.

The disease was discovered in five Chinese provinces, reported the official news service of Xinhua, and cited statistics from the country's ministry of agriculture.

China reported its first case of the disease in August in the province of Liaoning in the northeast.

Since then, the disease has moved south, with cases that have been discovered up to 1000 kilometers (600 miles), fearing it could infect pig farms across the country.

Although the virus has continued to spread, a spokesperson for the Agriculture Minister said it is "generally under control," Xinhua reported.

Last week, the UN Food and Agriculture Organization warned that the disease could spread to other parts of Asia.

African swine fever is not harmful to humans, but causes hemorrhagic fever in domestic pigs and wild boar that almost always end in death within a few days.

There is no antidote or vaccine and the only known method to prevent the disease from spreading is a massive slaughter of the infected cattle.

Beijing said that an emergency plan had been launched and that control measures had been taken to stop the spread of the disease.

The FAO warned in May against the risk of spreading African swine fever from Russia.

About half of the world's pigs grow in China and according to the FAO, the Chinese are the largest buyers of pork per capita. / ee

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