Another Case of ASF in China: 24,000 Pigs Culled and Counting

“African swine fever has been found again in China, this time in Nanling county, part of the city of Wuhu in China's Anhui province,” announced the Swine Health Information Center (SHIC) on Thursday afternoon. “Located directly west of Shanghai, it is the fifth province reported to be affected by the disease in the last month.”

According to SHIC, “One farm with 459 pigs was found to be infected, with 80 killed by the virus and the other 379 destroyed.”

The Center also said that China has implemented additional control measures for the surrounding area.

To date, SHIC said about 24,000 pigs have already been culled in China since the beginning of the epidemic. However, it’s important to keep in mind that those are the reported numbers – actual numbers could be much higher.

The last four outbreaks have been in the northeast part of China, but not necessarily in close proximity. It would be like having outbreaks spanning a bit further than the east-west length of Iowa along I-80 (306 miles).

Figure 1: Distances by road from different points: 1: = 870 miles (1,400 km); 2= 1,400 miles (2,253 km); 3: 350 miles (563 km); 4: 800 miles (1,288 km); 5: 500 miles (800km); 6: 317 miles (510 km). Red circleshows the location of cases 2, 3, 4, and 5 in a radius of 347 miles (550 km).

More About the Fifth Case
The most recent case is relatively small, “especially compared to an ASF infected farm in Romania where 140,000 pigs are being killed this week,” SHIC said. “However, the widespread nature of the reported cases continues to cause concern, as no mechanism of transmission has been reported and, conversely, potential mechanisms suggest the potential for many more cases.

“The trade and transport of pigs is, of course, a major concern and should be easily identified through traceback of farm inventories. Contamination of trucks, along with inadequate sanitation should also be relatively easy to trace,” SHIC said in its report.

The Swine Disease Global Surveillance Report from SHIC has kept U.S. producers updated of the situation in China. As PorkBusiness has reported previously, African Swine Fever has no human health implications, but it is highly contagious and lethal for pigs.

The report noted that since a connection to how the disease is being transmitted from farm to farm is not readily evident, it could mean that other contaminated materials are being transferred between farms, such as pork products fed to pigs, people or equipment moving between farms and/or feed ingredients.

Disease Could Enter the U.S. in Many Ways
Work by Dr. Scott Dee at Pipestone Systems has shown that diseases can potentially be transmitted through feed between countries. His work, reported in 2016 was on Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea Virus (PEDv).

"During the widespread epidemic [of PEDv], the role of feed in transboundary spread of the virus was downplayed, based on lack of data supporting survival of PEDv in feed ingredients over time and under conditions representative of trans-oceanic transport,” Dee said. “Extended survival of PEDV in individual feed ingredients under wintertime ambient conditions has been reported. Most notably, survival of PEDv was demonstrated in soybean meal for 180 days, along with evidence of virus survival in lysine hydrochloride, choline chloride, DDGS and several porcine by-products for at least 30 days."

"This project is not anti-China or anti-feed industry," Dee said. "It is a collection of objective data using a novel mechanism approach and justification for future research, and it starts the conversation on how to protect our industry in the future."

Keeping Foreign Animal Diseases Out of the U.S.
Protecting the U.S. herd is of utmost importance. If the disease were to enter the U.S., it would have a devastating impact on the industry.

“The U.S. pork industry organizations have developed a list of actions that could help prevent and then, if needed, respond to an ASF incursion. They have been shared with USDA and urgent work and further discussion about them is ongoing. Urgent prevention initiatives are prioritized above response initiatives.

SHIC noted these immediate actions that U.S. producers can take:

  • Review biosecurity protocols with your veterinarian and commit to their implementation every day.
  • Prepare your farm for enrollment in the Secure Pork Supply. Resources and instructions can be found at
  • Fill out a FAD Preparation Checklist for your farm. It can be found at
  • Visit with your feed supplier about the ingredients used in you diets. A list of suggested topics for discussion with feed or feed ingredient suppliers will be forthcoming.
  • With the best information currently available, and until we learn more, extreme caution should be taken when considering hosting someone on U.S. farms from a region of the world that has ASF or other foreign animal diseases. If it is needed, the USDA Foreign Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory on Plum Island requires a 5-day downtime for anyone planning to have contact with susceptible species after working with diseases and animals on


Editor’s Note: Some of the information for this article came from a news report from the Swine Health Information Center, which used the following references: