Thursday, November 15, 2018

Fears Grow Of A Swine Fever Epidemic In China

Fears are growing that the outbreak of African swine fever in China could turn into an epidemic, infecting pigs across the region and even in the United States.

In a report by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific, concerns have been expressed about the “virulent strain” of the “virus.”

“[There is a] major threat to the swine industry in China and to the livelihoods of small-scale farmers and others along the value chain,” the study stated, “… because pork is produced and consumed by so many Asian countries, particularly in East and Southeast Asia, the introduction of the virus to other countries of the region is a near certainty.”

To underline how serious the situation is, the report added that “there is no vaccine and no cure for the disease.”

In response, Chinese state media has continued to report that “swine fever is under control,” even though global pork-industry insiders, analysts and scientists consider that highly unlikely.

“I remain very skeptical of any notion that China has this under control,” Arlan Suderman, the chief commodities economist at INTL FCStone Financial, said in an email to Asia Times. “It doesn’t fit with the continued rise in cases over a broad area. There are too many ways in which this long-living virus can survive in the environment to declare it under control this soon.”