Reuters reports that two more cases of African swine fever has been confirmed in wild boars in the eastern German state of Brandenburg. One of the boars was found outside the area of the first discoveries, according to the German agricultural ministry.
African swine fever is a viral disease affecting domestic and wild hogs. It has a near 100% fatality rate. It can be spread by live or dead hogs and pork products. Transmission can also occur via contaminated feed and non-living objects, including shoes, clothes and vehicles, according to the World Organization for Animal Health. It does not affect people.
Germany discovered its first case of African swine fever on Sept. 10. The total number of confirmed cases stands at 38, with all reported in wild hogs. More cases are expected. The country is trying to keep the outbreak contained by building fences, using search dogs, drones and helicopters with thermal-imaging tech to scour the land and offering 110-euro ($128) rewards for carcasses.
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China, the world’s largest hog producer, has been battling African swine fever in its farms since 2018. The disease slashed herd size by almost half, drove up the country’s pork prices and sent meat imports soaring to record highs.
Now, China is engaged in rapid expansion, with companies like Wens Foodstuffs Group, Muyuan Foodstuff Co. and New Hope Liuhe Co. boosting herds, encouraged by government incentives.
The Chinese government approved more than 20,000 new hog farms in the first half of 2020, which have the capacity to raise more 150 million pigs, after Beijing offered incentives to encourage breeding. Among companies, Muyuan Foodstuff plans to double sales in 2020, while New Hope Liuhe is aiming to triple the number of hogs slaughtered in 2021 and increase that by a further 60% thereafter.
There is no vaccine to prevent African swine fever, but a new experimental vaccine shows promise, according to USDA.
African swine fever was first discovered more than 100 years ago in Africa. Outbreaks have been found in eastern Europe, Russia and across Asia, including Vietnam and South Korea. The World Organization for Animal Health provides weekly updates of the disease distribution.