While it was expected, the eventual news still came as a shock: Vietnam has reported its 1st cases of African Swine Fever (ASF).
The UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) reported on the announcement by the Vietnamese authorities that ASF virus had been found in 8 households on 3 locations in Hung Yen and Thai Binh provinces, south east of the capital Hanoi. All pigs in these households were culled, the Animal Health Department said in a statement, which was reported by press agency Reuters.
Where was ASF exactly found?
According to the report to the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE), in Hung Yen province, closest to Hanoi, 2 outbreaks were reported, in villages having 33 and 101 pigs. The outbreak in the village with 33 pigs (Trung Nghia) already started on February 1, and affected 1 household. In total, 5 animals contracted ASF there, of which 3 had died.
A 2nd village in this province, called Yen Hoa, another household was hit on February 17. This household had 101 pigs in total. Here 20 animals had contracted the virus of which 10 had died. This discovery site is the closest to Vietnam’s capital Hanoi, about 25 km in a straight line.
Also in neighbouring Thai Binh province, 6 households in the village Dong Do with a total of 123 pigs confirmed ASF infection. In this place, altogether 50 pigs were found infected, and 30 had died. This village is furthest away from the capital, about 65 km in a straight line from Hanoi. This outbreak was reported to the OIE on February 13.
Smuggling of animals and tourism
While Vietnam’s authorities hastened to remind members of the public that there is no public health risk, the outbreaks do not come unexpected. Nguyen Van Long, the department’s chief of epidemiology, said smuggling of animals across borders and tourism made it difficult to control the spread of the disease, Reuters wrote.
Due to the Lunar New Year, there had been a lot of people movements in China and South East Asia. Last week only, the Taiwanese authorities reported that it had detected the virus in pork sandwiches carried by travellers coming in from Vietnam. The authorities in both Vietnam and Taiwan are working to determine the origin of that pork, according to Vietnam’s animal health department.