African swine fever (ASF) has caused more than 2.5 million pigs to be culled in Vietnam, an agriculture ministry official said on Tuesday.
The deadly virus of pigs, which cannot affect human health or the food supply, was first detected in Vietnam in February and has spread to farms in 58 of the country’s 63 provinces, said Nguyen Van Long, head of epidemiology at Vietnam’s Department of Animal Health.
A second official said that it was “only a matter of time” before the disease spreads to all 63 provinces. The official declined to be identified because they were not authorized to speak to the media, Reuters reported.
The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) advised Vietnam to declare the ASF outbreak as a national emergency in March.
“We won’t declare the outbreak a national emergency yet as the virus is harmless to humans and the outbreak doesn’t pose a threat to national security,” Long said.
In May, Vietnam said it would mobilize its military and police forces to help combat the outbreak and encouraged people not to turn their back on pork consumption because pork is safe and not affected by the virus.
Pork accounts for 75% of the meat consumed in Vietnam, a country of 95 million people where most of its 30 million farm-raised pigs are consumed domestically.
The country’s pork industry is valued at around $4.03 billion, and accounts for nearly 10% of Vietnam’s agricultural sector. Reuters reported that an economist with the Bank for Investment and Development of Vietnam in Hanoi said ASF has not had a significant impact on the economy yet.
For more information on ASF, visit porkbusiness.com/ASF.
Read more from Farm Journal’s PORK:
Is. U.S. Pork Safe to Eat?