African swine fever continues to spread in other regions of the country
In a positive development in the Philippines, the first province has been declared free of African swine fever (ASF), although the infection continues to spread elsewhere in the country. There are further cases in domestic pigs in Bhutan, Malaysia, and the northeast Indian state of Mizoram. In Russia’s Far East, the ASF situation has been officially described as “resolved” in three districts.
For the past two years, the Philippines has been battling to control ASF as the virus has spread to most regions.
Last month, the first outbreaks occurred in Ilocos Norte. Part of the Ilocos Region, this province is in the northwest of the island of Luzon. Initially, just two outbreaks were identified. However, a recent report from the Philippine News Agency (PNA) puts the number of pigs so far culled in the area at more than 1,000. This total includes pigs compulsorily destroyed if they are kept within 500 meters of a confirmed ASF outbreak.
According to this source, investigators found one source of infection to be the actions of one farmer, who dumped the carcasses of his dead pigs in an irrigation system.
In the south of Luzon, in the Calabarzon Region, the first province has been declared free of ASF. For Batangas, this came 16 months after the first ASF outbreak. The declaration offers hope for pig owners in other parts of the country where ASF is still rife, according to Agriculture Secretary William Dar. Furthermore, he said, trials of a commercial ASF vaccine that started in April also represent progress for the hog industry. At 10 commercial farms, a vaccine developed by Zoetis Philippines Inc. is being tested for a period of around 90 days, PNA reports.
In the Eastern Visayas, ASF has been confirmed in 30 towns and cities over the past six months, according to PNA. As of June 21, around 13,000 pigs had been culled in the area. Early cases in the region in January were attributed to the transport of boars for natural mating or to hog traders. More recently, pork products from infected areas have been blamed for spreading the ASF virus. In Leyte province, pig owners in the town of Tambango have been urged to raise biosecurity as ASF has recently been detected at farms in the area.
ASF has also been spreading to new villages in the Northern Mindanao province of Misamis Oriental, according to PNA. Here, authorities have banned entry to all pigs and pork products without the correct documentation, or if they originate from an ASF-infected area. Meanwhile, 33 pig owners in the Caraga Region on the island of Mindanao have received financial compensation for animals that were culled to prevent the spread of the infection. Each received PHP2,500 (US$50) per animal.
ASF situation in northeastern India
Local media report that ASF has now been detected in each district of the state of Mizoram. Up to June 25, reports Down to Earth, almost 7,600 pigs have died of the disease. Around 550 more mortalities are thought to have been caused by ASF. Among the most recent cases are animals in the last of the state’s 11 districts to be touched by the disease.
While ASF was detected in the states of Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Manipur and Meghalaya in early 2020, first cases in Mizoram were not confirmed until March 2021. Restrictions linked to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic had effectively halted all trade with neighboring states. Nevertheless, illegal traders are known to be operating from Bangladesh, according to this source. Investigations have revealed imported pigs in close proximity with local animals.
In the past two weeks, Down to Earth has reported that illegal trading is also thought to be the reason for the spread of ASF in the state of Manipur. “A few deaths” were reported in December 2020. However, the total number of pigs affected by the disease is not known.
In Nagaland, the first cases of ASF were suspected in pigs in early April. However, the cause of the unusual mortality in pigs in three districts was not identified. With no new cases detected for two weeks, officials said that the worst of the crisis in the state could be over.
2 new outbreaks reported in Malaysia
Last week, Borneo Post reported that an outbreak of ASF had been confirmed in Keningau. Around 24 backyard pigs died in a village in this district. Source of the infection is thought to be wild bearded pigs as one of these animals was previously discovered dead near the village.
If officially confirmed, it would bring the number of districts reporting ASF cases in wild or domestic pigs to 11.
Malaysian authorities have recently also officially registered with the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) that one more wild bearded pig found dead has tested positive for the ASF virus.
Since the country’s first cases in February 2021, all ASF outbreaks have occurred in Sabah state, which is located in the island of Borneo.
Further ASF infections mortalities in Bhutan border town
According to the latest official report to the OIE, a further 725 pigs have been found in the area around a sewage plant in the Chhukha district. The facility in Phuenteshogling town was the location of the country’s first cases in early May.
All 2,035 of the pigs involved in this outbreak so far have been identified as scavenging animals that have strayed over the nearby border with India.
More wild boar in South Korea test positive for ASF
According to the latest official report to the OIE, 34 more wild boar have tested positive for the ASF virus in South Korea. Between May 3 and June 26, 22 cases were discovered in seven districts in Gangwon, and 11 in Gyeonggi.
In the north of the country, these two provinces have been the location of many previous confirmed cases in wild boar since September 2019. Based on reports to the OIE, the country’s total losses of wild animals stands at 1,439 animals.
There have also been 17 confirmed ASF outbreaks among domestic pigs in South Korea. The most recent farm outbreak was in early May of this year.
Russia reports ASF situation in Far East resolved
This year, Russia’s veterinary authority registered ASF in three different regions of its Far Eastern federal district. In all these areas, the agency considers that the situation has been resolved.
In Khabarovsk krai, the latest wave of ASF was reported to have begun in April 2021. Two outbreaks in backyard herds were confirmed in different districts on the same day. With no further cases since then, nine pigs died and 145 more were culled to prevent further spread of the virus. By the end of May, both outbreaks were reported as ended.
Just one outbreak was reported in February in Zabaykalsky krai. This affected a backyard herd comprising 90 pigs, 20 of which died and the rest were destroyed. With no further detections of the virus, the disease was regarded as ended in May.
Around one month earlier, a similar declaration was made about ASF in Magadan oblast. One pig died in a backyard herd in the city of Magadan in the first week of March this year. No more cases were detected after the remaining 35 animals were culled.
One month ago, animal health authorities in Myanmar reported the first cases of ASF for seven months.
View our continuing coverage of the global African swine fever situation.