News 619 views last update:Aug 23, 2007

Chinese PRRS outbreaks possibly 'covered up'

Local authorities in China may have covered up PRRS outbreaks that killed tens of thousands of pigs, the nation's chief vet said early this week. He added, however, that there was no cause for panic.

Porcine Respiratory and Reproductive Syndrome (PRRS), also known as blue-ear disease, has killed 68,000 pigs across China and led to another 175,000 being slaughtered, Jia Youling, chief veterinary officer at the Chinese Ministry of Agriculture, told.

Jia responded to some press reports that had suggested that the number of infected pigs is much higher than disclosed government figures, citing the dramatic spike in pork prices in China this year as evidence.

"Although there may be some cover-ups (by local authorities), it is absolutely impossible (that) the figure could be as big as... millions or 10 million as reported by the media," Jia said.

"Panic was caused because people didn't know (it was) blue-ear disease and had no idea how to deal with it. But it doesn't mean the number of infected pigs is huge."

Jia said that an effective PRRS vaccine had been developed and distributed to those areas that are affected most seriously. The spread of the disease was now under 'preliminary control.'

He said at the moment over 100 million pigs have been vaccinated.

"So far, no blue-ear disease has been found in places that have done the vaccination."

Related website:
• Chinese Ministry of Agriculture (in Chinese)

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