Where China is fighting with African Swine Fever (ASF), the Japanese have their own battle to fight with Classical Swine Fever. The virus has been spreading quickly in the last few weeks in Central Japan.
The virus was discovered on a farm in Gifu prefecture early September 2018. Until January, regular outbreaks were reported, but mostly they were about wild boar found in either Gifu prefecture or neighbouring Aichi prefecture. In 2018, this led to the culling of 8,704 farm pigs according to the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE).
There is reason to assume, however, that the development of the virus in Japan is getting increasingly worrisome. In the 1st 5 weeks of 2019, over 18,369 farm pigs had to be culled because CSF was found on a series of swine farms. On February 5, in total even 6 outbreaks on Japanese farms were reported to the OIE, with varying sizes from 600 to 6,640 pigs.
The map below indicates where pig farms in Japan have been infected on farms; the wild boar findings in Gifu and Aichi prefectures have not been included.
As can be seen on the interactive map above, the CSF outbreaks remained in an area north of Nagoya city – until late January, early February, when the virus suddenly spread out to other places within Japan. The distance between the easternmost outbreak near Osaka and the westernmost outbreak in Iida City is now 220 km. The virus has now been detected on farms in 6 prefectures.
News website The Japan Times quoted Takamori Yoshikawa, the country’s minister of agriculture, saying “We are facing an extremely serious situation.”
For now, hygiene and biosecurity are seen as the ways forward to fight the virus, as applying vaccination might impede the country’s pork exports. The OIE already suspended Japan’s status as CSF-free country as from the outbreak in September.
Read more about Classical Swine Fever in our Health Tool
It looks like a farm in Toyota, just west of Nagoya, shipped infected pigs to various farms in the surroundings.
Before the September outbreaks, Japan had been free from CSF since 1992. It is unclear how the virus entered the country.