China’s agriculture ministry will investigate local veterinary authorities in 10 provinces in an attempt to slow the ongoing spread of the deadly African swine fever (ASF) virus.
Earlier this month, China’s cabinet said there were deficiencies in the country’s efforts to control and prevent ASF. The deadly virus has now reached every province of the country and continues to spread, nearly a year after the first outbreak.
Many outbreaks are not being reported, farmers have told Reuters, with local officials in some provinces unwilling to verify or report the disease.
Vice agriculture minister Yu Kangzhen said the ministry was reviewing reports of underreporting. He also said some places lacked the resources to prevent and control the disease.
China’s Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs said in a statement that it will evaluate the veterinary agencies from two sample counties in the following provinces and regions: Hebei, Heilongjiang, Jiangsu, Henan, Anhui, Guangxi, Fujian, Sichuan, Yunnan and Shaanxi.
One county must be a place where there has recently been an outbreak of the disease, Reuters said. Then, it will be compared with another county, ideally administered by the same city or in the same area, where the disease has not occurred. The evaluations will be completed by Oct. 31 and a report submitted to the ministry by Dec. 31.
“This is what is needed. At a national level and even provincial level the policies were okay, but there were shortcomings in the way they were translated. And that’s something that needs to be worked out to stop this disease,” said Dirk Pfeiffer, a professor of veterinary epidemiology at the City University of Hong Kong.
ASF has no vaccine or cure. The virus has destroyed the world’s largest pork producing herd. ASF is not harmful to humans and does not pose a food safety risk. For more information on the spread of ASF, visit porkbusiness.com/ASF.
More from Farm Journal’s PORK: