Vietnam Ramps Up African Swine Fever Prevention Tactics

A local slaughterhouse worker in Vietnam cools down pigs.
( International Livestock Research Institute/Andrew Nguyen )

As African swine fever (ASF) pressures increase in China, neighboring Vietnamese authorities conducted drills on Wednesday to prevent the spread of ASF should an outbreak take place. 

Nearly one million pigs have been killed worldwide due to the spread of this highly transmissible disease.

In footage shown on state-run Vietnam Television, officials covered from head to toe in protective clothing were seen taking samples from dead pigs and spraying corpses before burying them in a large pit in the ground, Reuters reports.

“The fever is only 150 kilometers away from our border, so it’s necessary to understand the risk and danger...if it reaches our 27 million pigs,” said Tong Xuan Chinh, vice head of the agriculture ministry’s livestock department.

Most of Vietnam’s pigs are consumed domestically, with pork accounting for 75% of the total meat consumption in the Southeast Asian nation of 95 million people, Chinh said. Authorities are tightly controlling the transportation of pigs and pork products from China and have banned pork products from other infected countries such as Poland and Hungary.

“If this fever infects our pigs, it will be a major hit to the economy, society, environment and food security,” Chinh said. 

Last month, China reported outbreaks of ASF in Yunnan, a border province with Vietnam. Authorities also fear the disease spreading into Vietnam through smuggled pigs, which is a regular occurrence, especially in the northern border provinces with China, the agriculture ministry said.

Vietnam authorities have destroyed 324 pigs and nearly 17 metric tons of pork products that have been smuggled or which do not have clear origins in 63 cases since August.

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