Thailand swept away by global spread of African Swine Fever (ASF)

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Thailand discovered the first official case of African swine fever (ASF) last week.

The discovery of Thailand is part of the global spread of African swine fever. The disease has affected many countries in Asia, the Caribbean, Europe and the Pacific in domestic and feral pigs.

African swine fever reached the Americas late last year when the Dominican Republic and then Haiti reported outbreaks on their shared island of Hispaniola in the Greater Antilles archipelago in the Caribbean Sea.

Now, testing of samples at a slaughterhouse in Nakhon Pathom province near Bangkok has shown positive results for the African swine fever virus. Thailand’s Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives has restricted the movement of pigs within a five-kilometre radius of the slaughterhouse.

Mass culling of pigs showing symptoms of African swine fever was under consideration.

African swine fever (ASF) is a highly contagious viral disease of domestic and feral pigs with a mortality rate of up to 100%. It is not a danger to human health, but it has devastating effects on pig populations and the agricultural economy. It has yet to hit the United States and Canada, two of the world’s leading pork producers.

The disease has killed hundreds of millions of pigs worldwide, causing pork shortages and price increases.

There is currently no commonly used vaccine against African swine fever, although the United States Department of Agriculture supports some in development.

The virus is very tough in the environment, which means it can survive on clothing, boots, wheels and other materials. It can also survive in pork products, such as ham, sausages or bacon.

Pork prices in Thailand are up 33% since the start. Pork is a common ingredient in Thai dishes and grocery stores often run out of stock. The government has suspended pork exports as a short-term way to address shortages.

Thailand’s domestic pig population is approximately 18 million. Around one million Thai pigs are exported to Cambodia, Vietnam, Laos and Myanmar each year.

Most likely, Thai farm pig deaths attributed to other viral diseases over the past year included some infected with African swine fever. Thai agriculture can now achieve its PPP in the open air.

Last month, the World Organization for Animal Health (OEI) reported recurrences in China, Russia, Moldova and Ukraine. On January 5, a region in Italy reported a new strain.

“The events observed over the past six months confirm the global threat of African swine fever, which continues to spread in several regions with serious repercussions on pig production systems, animal health and welfare, as well as as on livelihoods, national food security and international trade. said the OIE in a 2021 year-end report.

“Controlling African swine fever requires sustained commitment and resources. In partnership with the private sector, Veterinary Services should strengthen their capacity to manage the risk of African swine fever through the implementation of science-based international standards and guidelines in their national control programmes,” he continues. .

“In particular, African swine fever surveillance must be adapted to the local epidemiological context, taking into account the presence of low-virulence strains that could prevent clinical surveillance. Surveillance programs should also cover wild and feral suid populations when involved in disease epidemiology. OIE members must also ensure access to quality laboratory diagnosis for African swine fever, capable of identifying African swine fever in accordance with OIE standards.

The OIE reports that the epidemiological situation of African swine fever continued to deteriorate from 2020 to 2022.

Since January 2020, six countries have reported African swine fever as the first occurrence in the country, while 12 countries have reported its spread to new ones. areas. This highlights a continued spread of the disease to new countries, and to new areas in countries already affected.

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