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ASF China: Largest pig farm so far infected

African Swine Fever (ASF) has been detected on the largest swine farm so far: A facility with 73,654 pigs was hit in northern Heilongjiang province was hit.

The farm in Mingshui County, near Suihua City, is called Heilongjiang Asia-Europe Animal Husbandry Company, according to press agency Reuters. Major shareholder of the farm is state-owned Zhejiang Rural Development Group, but the operation is also partly owned by a Danish investment fund, the news agency said.

The farm with 73,000 pigs is established in Heilongjiang province, in China’s north. Illustration: 123RF
The farm with 73,000 pigs is established in Heilongjiang province, in China’s north. Illustration: 123RF

The farm was established in 2016. Danish farms are usually known for their high level of technology, design and biosecurity.

Aiming for 385,000 pigs/year

According to the press agency, the farm’s herd included 15,000 breeding pigs, and it was aiming to produce 385,000 pigs for slaughter a year. The Chinese Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs (MARA) reported that 4,686 pigs had been infected and 3,766 animals died. All remaining animals on-farm (almost 70,000 animals) will be culled.

The farm is by far the largest facility to report the virus, although it remains unclear whether the officially reported outbreaks reflect the actual situation in the country. ASF has spread throughout the entire country, covering an area of about 4,000km north to south. The total count is now at 104 outbreaks, with almost 360,000 animals having been culled on-farms as a direct result of the virus. Numbers of culled pigs to prevent further spread are likely to be a lot higher.

Read the latest on African Swine Fever on our mini-site

Outbreak in Shanxi province

Another recent outbreak occurred in Shanxi province, where in Jincheng City a farm with just over 8,000 pigs was confirmed positive for ASF. There 24 pigs were confirmed positive and 7 had died of the viral disease.

Wild boar was infected with different ASF strain

More information has also been released about the wild boar that was found infected with ASF mid-November 2018. A team of 19 Chinese researchers have pre-released data from their research on the animal which was found in in Jilin province, near Baishan. This outbreak was found at about 20km from the border with North Korea.

In the article in the peer-reviewed journalTransboundary and Emerging Diseases, the virus in this strain belonged to the ‘p72 genotype II, CD2v serogroup 8’. This is different from other reported strains in China.

As can be seen in the interactive map above, together with a reported outbreak on a wild boar farm in northern Heilongjiang province, this finding of a dead wild boar so far is the only official report of an infected wild boar in China. Both occurred close to country borders.

Stricter regulations for pig slaughter

In the meantime, the Chinese authorities have introduced stricter regulations for pig slaughter, reported Reuters. As from February 1, slaughterhouses must slaughter swine from different origins separately. The abattoirs will only be allowed to sell the products if blood from the same batch of pigs tests negative for ASF virus.

If the virus is detected, slaughterhouses must cull all pigs to be slaughtered and suspend operations for at least 48 hours, according to the regulations.