ASF outbreak reported for first time in Beijing

African swine fever (ASF) has been confirmed on two farms in Beijing, the first cases in the Chinese capital, according to reports.

The Chinese Ministry of Agriculture purportedly confirmed the news to international media outlet Reuters.

According to the outlet, the ministry confirmed that ASF had been discovered on two farms in Fangshan district, in the south-west of Beijing.

First reported in China in August 2018, ASF has since hit numerous farms around the country, with approximately 70 cases reported since.

The chief veterinary officer of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) Dr. Juan Lubroth met with Chinese Vice Minister of Agriculture Yu Kangzhen and chief veterinary officer Zhang Zhongqiu met with in Beijing.

Dr. Lubroth “spoke highly of the decisive measures adopted by China to prevent and control ASF”, according to the Chinese ministry.

Since the disease was first detected, thousands of pigs have been culled.

It is understood that China accounts for around 50% of the global population of swine, estimated at 500 million.

African swine fever 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. There is no treatment for the fever in pigs and there is no vaccine currently available.

The disease has been spreading in eastern Europe since it first entered the European Union in 2014. It has recently been detected in wild boars in countries such as Poland, Latvia, Romania and Belgium.