ASF Bangladesh: 21st country in Asia-Pacific to be infected

29-12-2023 | |
Photo: [1:20 PM] Vincent ter Beek
Photo: A pig in a laboratory that was confirmed positive for ASF. Photo: Lina Mur, Universidad Complutense, Madrid, Spain.

As the 21st country in the Asia-Pacific, Bangladesh has also confirmed the emergence of African Swine Fever (ASF) virus to the World Organisation for Animal Health (WOAH).

The outbreak was found on a “Pig Development Farm” with 414 pigs in the county Rangamati Sadar, in the Rangamati district, Chittagong division, in the east of the country. The Rangamati district is located adjacent to both India as well as Myanmar. Over half of the district’s population is said to be Buddhist, explaining the presence of swine farming in Bangladesh, which is predominantly Muslim.

In total 274 animals were found to be positive of ASF virus, and 227 of them had died. According to the WOAH report, the outbreak had started on November 13. The virus was confirmed in a laboratory in the capital city Dhaka on November 22.

The reporting of the outbreak in Bangladesh doesn’t come as a total surprise. Virtually all neighbouring countries reported the presence of the virus in an earlier stage, including Bhutan, India, Myanmar and even Nepal.

ASF in Asia: a long march since 2017

Bangladesh is the 21st country in Asia to report African Swine Fever. The virus entered Asia through Siberian Russia (2017) and China (2018). Outbreaks were also reported in Hong Kong (2019).

Ever since, one Asian country after the next reported the outbreak, including Mongolia, Vietnam, Cambodia, North Korea and South Korea, Laos, the Philippines, Myanmar, Indonesia and East Timor (all in 2019).

Papua New Guinea (officially part of Oceania) reported the virus in 2020 and so did India.

Malaysia and Bhutan reported the virus in 2021, and soon after the virus also emerged in Thailand, which communicated about it early 2022. In that year, also Nepal reported about its first ASF outbreaks. In 2023 Singapore reported its first outbreak in April and now also Bangladesh has as well.

A few countries stayed free from ASF

Only a few countries in the wider Asia-Pacific area so far has remained free from ASF. Japan, Sri Lanka and Brunei never reported outbreaks, and neither has Taiwan.

The island of Taiwan is applying stringent border controls and has so far successfully kept its populations free from ASF. The virus, however, was detected in carcasses that washed ashore, mostly on the Kinmen and Matsu Islands, which are straight off the coast from mainland China. Most likely these carcasses ended up in the water in mainland China and floated across the sea.

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Editor of Pig Progress / Topic: Pigs around the world