Laos confirms first cases of African swine fever

Laos confirms first cases of African swine fever

African swine fever, fatal to wild boar and pigs but harmless to humans, has cut a swathe through
File photo of pigs. (Photo: AFP/Damien Meyer)

PARIS: Laos has reported its first cases of African swine fever (ASF), confirming outbreaks in the southern province of Saravane, the Paris-based World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) said on Thursday (Jun 20).

The country reported seven outbreaks of ASF in villages across Saravane, which led to the deaths of 973 animals, the OIE said on its website, citing information from Laos' agriculture ministry.

The disease, which is incurable in pigs but harmless to humans, has spread rapidly across China since last August and has also spread to Vietnam and Cambodia this year.

It has led to rising pork prices in China, which is home to the world's largest pig herd. China has so far reported more than 120 outbreaks of ASF.

READ: Consumers in China feel the pinch as food prices rise

More than 2.5 million pigs had to be culled in Vietnam to contain the spread of ASF. 

Nguyen Van Long, head of epidemiology at Vietnam’s Department of Animal Health, said the disease was first detected in Vietnam in February and has spread to farms in 58 of the country's 63 provinces.

Pork accounts for three-quarters of the total meat consumption in Vietnam - a country of 95 million people where most of its 30 million farm-raised pigs are consumed domestically.

In April, China said it would ban the imports of pigs, wild boars and related products from Cambodia, after Cambodia reported its first case of ASF. About 500 pigs in Cambodia were killed by the disease.

Source: Reuters/mi