African Swine Fever Hits Northwest Region of Ningxia

( National Pork Board and the Pork Checkoff )

China announced a new outbreak of African swine fever (ASF) in the northwestern region of Ningxia on Sunday, reported China’s agriculture ministry.

The outbreak occurred on a farm with 57 live pigs in Yongning county, infecting pigs and killing 13, the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs said.

This marks the 25th region or province to record an ASF outbreak in China. 

Currently there is no vaccine for ASF, although many countries are working to develop one, including China

According to Liz Wagstrom, chief veterinarian at the National Pork Producers Council, the quest for an ASF vaccine has been going on for a good 50 years. It’s no easy feat, because ASF is the largest virus known to man, she said. Because of its size, it’s difficult to discover which, if any, of those proteins has the antibody that would protect against clinical disease.

According to Wagstrom, a vaccine for ASF is still several years away from being available to pork producers. Some U.S. sources say 10 years, while a European report says the vaccine is still 20 years out. 

The biggest threat to ASF transmission is people, said Andrea Pitkin, DVM, PIC North America’s health assurance veterinarian.  “Biosecurity is our main tool to prevent this disease,” she added.

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