African swine fever outbreak kills 72 pigs in China – report

A total of 72 pigs have purportedly died in another outbreak of African swine fever in China, according to reports.

The Chinese Agriculture Ministry apparently confirmed the news, according to Reuters.

The outbreak is believed to have occurred in the country’s northeastern province of Liaoning – which Reuters says is the fourth reported incident this week in the province.

The fever was discovered in Anshan city, on a farm with 120 pigs – of which 88 were infected – according to a statement from the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs.

The fever was confirmed for the first time in China back in August 2018. There is no treatment for ASF in pigs and there is no vaccine available currently.

Last month, the disease was also detected in Belgium, prompting concern from Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Michael Creed.

“The identification of African swine fever now in Belgium, close to the French border, as well as its continued spread in eastern Europe, is an increasing cause of concern,” Minister Creed said.

African swine fever (ASF) is a highly contagious and usually fatal viral disease of pigs. It does not affect humans and meat from pigs does not pose any food safety risk, according to the Department of Agriculture.

However, the disease has been spreading in eastern Europe since it first entered the European Union in 2014.

In addition to the new cases in Belgium, the disease is already present in a number of EU member states including Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Poland, Czech Republic, Hungary, Romania and more recently Bulgaria.