China detects first outbreak of swine flu since July

Beijing, Oct 9 (efe-epa).- China announced Friday it has detected the first outbreak since the end of July of African swine flu, a disease that has killed tens of millions of pigs in the country and has caused prices of pork, one of the most consumed by citizens, to skyrocket.

According to a statement from the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs, the outbreak has been detected in the central region of Chongqing in a group of 70 piglets, of which 14 had already contracted the disease and two had died.

The animals had been illegally transported from another province and were seized by the Chongqing Center for the Prevention and Control of Animal Diseases.

Authorities are investigating the case and cleaning and disinfecting the places, roads and transport vehicles where the infected animals passed through have begun.

The last case reported by the Ministry of Agriculture had also been detected in the Chongqing region, although in another county, on Jul. 25, and at the time that outbreak was detected at least four pigs had already contracted the disease .

African swine flu, with a high mortality rate among pigs and wild boars – the rate can reach 100 percent according to the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) – is harmless to humans and other animals. It is a highly contagious hemorrhagic disease that can cause death between two and 10 days after being contracted.

Pigs are one of the main sources of food in the country, which is the world’s leading producer and consumer of pork.

According to calculations made by EFE based on data from the Chinese Government, between the end of 2017 and the end of 2019 -the first cases of the epidemic were detected in August 2018- the pig population in China had fallen by more than 130 million animals .

However, in July of last year, authorities said the epidemic was “under control,” and in the first seven months of 2020, 29.3 million were recovered in the national herd.

In August, authorities reported the progress of clinical trials of a possible vaccine developed by Chinese scientists against African swine flu, which until then had been tested in 3,000 animals with immunization rates above 80 percent. EFE-EPA


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