Laos reports first cases of African swine fever

Research has revealed a promising new approach for the development of a vaccine against African swine fever (ASF) for pigs. While no outbreaks of ASF affecting commercial pig herds in any country have been officially reported in the past week, there have been further cases among village herds in Romania and Vietnam, and the disease has spread to Laos.

sharafmaksumov | Bigstock.com
sharafmaksumov | Bigstock.com

Research has revealed a promising new approach for the development of a vaccine against African swine fever (ASF) for pigs. While no outbreaks of ASF affecting commercial pig herds in any country have been officially reported in the past week, there have been further cases among village herds in Romania and Vietnam, and the disease has spread to Laos.

The agriculture ministry of the Lao People’s Democratic Republic (Laos) has officially reported the first ever cases of ASF in the Southeast Asian state to the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE).

During the first week of June, outbreaks were confirmed among seven herds of village pigs ranging in size from 82 to 788 animals. More than 970 of the pigs died. All the cases were in the same district of Salavan, a province in central Laos that borders Vietnam and Thailand.

Source of the infection is unknown although the news is not entirely unexpected with ASF outbreaks affecting almost all regions of neighboring Vietnam. However, the affected district of Laos does not border that country.

Authorities in Laos report that movement controls have been put in place, and disinfection is being carried out in the affected area. Intensive surveillance there and across the country is to be stepped up, and a stamping-out policy will be followed.

Further cases in Vietnam

Three more outbreaks of ASF have been reported to the OIE by Vietnam’s agriculture ministry, all of them in “village” herds. These were located across the country — in the North Central Coast region, South Central Coast and the Mekong Delta. No mortalities were reported, and all 155 animals affected were culled.

ASF has affected 58 of the 63 provinces and cities of Vietnam since early February, according to the latest situation update from the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), and more than 2.6 million pigs there have been culled.

For the first four months of 2019, pig meat imports were more than six times higher than in the same period of last year, reported Vietnam Express recently. Pork from the U.S., Canada and European Union is being sold on Vietnamese markets, sometimes at a lower price than the locally produced meat. One stall owner said there is strong demand for imported pig meat for hotels and restaurants, and that supplies of locally produced pork are inconsistent.

ASF virus detected again in Taiwan

Another dead pig washed up on a beach on one of the small islands of Taiwan off the coast of mainland China last week has tested positive for the ASF virus, according to the FAO.

Genomic sequencing revealed that the virus has 100% similarity to viruses circulating in China. As there are no pigs on the island, this link suggests the animal originated in China, according to Taiwan’s animal health agency, BAPHIQ, and brings the number of ASF-positive pig carcasses found in the East Asian republic to 11. No ASF cases have so far been reported among the Taiwanese pig population.

Romania reports new outbreaks in backyard pigs

OIE has been informed of six new ASF outbreaks among backyard herds by the Romanian veterinary authority. A total of 30 pigs were lost to the disease as the result of these outbreaks in three regions in the south of the country, and one in the northwest.

UK scientists advance in development of an ASF vaccine

The development of an effective vaccine against ASF has taken a step forward, with researchers from the Pirbright Institute in the United Kingdom reporting they have identified proteins in the virus that can trigger an immune response in pigs.

Their results demonstrate that this method of vaccination — using vector vaccines — may provide effective protection in pigs. However, head of the ASF vaccinology group, Chris Netherton, warned that more work is needed to discover more about the ASF virus and how the pig’s immune system responds to it, as well as to further test the vector vaccine concept.

Recent research reported in China initially raised and then dashed hopes for the imminent release of an effective vaccine to protect pigs against ASF.

So far, vaccines based on inactivated viruses have not protected domestic pigs from the disease, according to the Institute, and live attenuated vaccines need more safety testing before their early promise can be fulfilled.

ASF in Africa: Swaziland bans some South African pork

This week, the Kingdom of eSwatini (also known as Swaziland) has restricted imports of pork from its neighbor, South Africa, in order to prevent the entry of ASF into the southern African state.

“Importations are only from slaughterhouses and establishments that are located in ASF-free zones and also source their slaughter stock from registered and supervised disease-free compartments,” the country’s veterinary director, Xolani Dlamini told African Exponent.

So far, all eight outbreaks reported to the OIE by the South African veterinary authority have been outside the country’s ASF Control Zone.

Europe: More cases in European wild boar

Animal health agencies in three countries have reported to the OIE cases of ASF among their respective wild boar populations in the past week. Numbers of animals lost to the disease through mortality or culling are lower than in previous weeks — Romania (6), Latvia (4) and Belgium (2).

View our continuing coverage of the African swine fever outbreak.

Page 1 of 61
Next Page