African swine fever (ASF) has struck Vietnam's southern Tay Ninh province, the Vietnam News Agency reported on Sunday.
A small herd of 16 pigs tested positive for the ASF virus in Tay Ninh's Chau Thanh district. The pigs were culled to prevent the disease from spreading.
ASF has spread to nearly all cities and provinces in Vietnam, leading to the culling of over 2.9 million pigs. This accounts for over 10% of the country's total pig population, Xinhua reported.
The shortage of pork due to ASF is expected to hit Vietnam later this year, the Vietnam Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development said. In the meantime, Vietnam is focusing on developing cattle, poultry and aquatic breeding to compensate for this loss of pork.
Is a Vaccine in Sight?
A vaccine for ASF, developed at the Vietnam National University of Agriculture, has been tested in its laboratory and at three farms in northern Vietnam, according to Vietnam Television.
Agriculture Minister Nguyen Xuan Cuong said, “I think we’re on the right track, and we will soon have a vaccine.”
ASF experts are skeptical over the claims of progress and believe more research is needed to prove the viability of any vaccine.
Dirk Pfeiffer, professor of veterinary epidemiology at City University of Hong Kong, said, “We need different phases of clinical trials, first in an experimental setting with controlled exposure, and then a field trial with natural exposure to the virus, and that cannot be a small trial.”
ASF is a deadly viral disease with no vaccine that affects both domestic and wild pigs. It is harmless to humans, however, and poses no food safety risk.
For more on the spread of ASF, visit porkbusiness.com/ASF.
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