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ASF Vietnam: Virus out of control as it reaches HCMC

African Swine Fever seems to have conquered most areas of Vietnam as well. Although no updates on outbreaks have reached the OIE in almost 2 months, news trickles through the virus has spread south of Ho Chi Minh City, effectively covering the whole of the country.

From news updates from Vietnam an alarming picture emerges that the African Swine Fever (ASF) outbreaks have travelled to Binh Phuoc and Dong Nai provinces, in the south, close to Ho Chi Minh City. In addition, Hau Giang province in the deep south is also reporting ASF, as well as Khanh Hoa, north east of Ho Chi Minh City, at the coast. All these provinces have been given a red background colour in the map below.

As the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) has not been receiving updates from Vietnam for some while, the exact location of the outbreaks is sometimes difficult to give. According to reports by the newspaper VN Express, for instance, in total 2 farms in Dong Nai province and 3 sites in Binh Phuoc were affected.

ASF outbreaks in Dong Nai province

Dong Nai province is one of the most important provinces in Vietnam for swine production. There the virus was reported on farms in Trang Bom and Nhon Trach districts, wrote VN Express earlier this month. Both are relatively close to Ho Chi Minh City.

ASF outbreaks in Binh Phuoc province

Binh Phuoc province is located just north of that. According to a very recent update by VN Express, the virus was been confirmed in Dong Phu district, in 2 households in Tan Lap Commune and in 1 household in Tan Phu Town. The total of animals affected was 21, according to the media outlet.

Gestating sows in a farm in southern Vietnam’s Dong Nai province. Photo: Vincent ter Beek
Gestating sows in a farm in southern Vietnam’s Dong Nai province. Photo: Vincent ter Beek

That something is going on in the south of Vietnam is corroborated by the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), which has also been confirming the outbreaks in Dong Nai province in the south of the country on its page.

A veterinarian expert who recently travelled to Vietnam told Pig Progress: “Farmers in Vietnam just throw deceased pigs into the river. The ministry of agriculture does not want to admit that they totally failed to keep the virus under control.”

Culling 1.2 million pigs due to ASF

The Vietnamese authorities did reveal earlier this week that the country has already culled 1.2 million pigs to halt further spread, news agency Reuters reported. The country has close to 30 million pigs, which is about the same amount as the whole of Germany. Counting the provinces that were reported infected by the OIE (23) plus what is currently being reported in Vietnamese media (7), the virus has now spread to at least 30 provinces in Vietnam.

Military and police helping out

In this light it can be understood why the Vietnamese authorities announced to deploy the military and police in an attempt to control the virus properly. News agency Reutersquoted Vietnam’s deputy agricultural minister Phung Duc Tien, who said: “Soon, soldiers and policemen will take part in efforts to make sure infected pigs are culled in a timely manner, keeping the outbreak from spreading further.”

Read more about pig health in the Pig Progress Health Tool

Agriculture minister Nguyen Xuan Cuong commented on the situation at a conference in Hanoi, earlier this week, saying: “Vietnam had never faced such a dangerous, complicated and costly disease outbreak in its husbandry industry.” He also ordered the police to investigate local authorities who would have failed to combat ASF adequately.

Provinces reporting to be free from ASF

On the other side of the spectrum, according to VN Express, there are also Vietnamese provinces reporting to be ‘free from ASF’, as they did not have any disease outbreaks for the last 30 days. According to the news outlet, this happened in Hoa Binh and Bac Kan provinces, both in the north of the country. Hoa Binh already declared itself free from ASF on 9 April, with Bac Kan doing so 3 days later.

All updates on African Swine Fever can be found on our ASF minisite