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Farm Journal's Pork Network reports:

The first case of African Swine Fever (ASF) in China (LINK) was reported on Friday, August 3, reported the Swine Health Information Center (SHIC). The virus was reportedly first identified on August 1: The outbreak was located in the northeast part of the country, in the city Shenyang, district of Shenbei New, in the province Liaoning, SHIC said in a news release. This is a swine dense area 130 miles (208km) of the North Korean border.

"Infection on a small farm with a herd of 383 pigs, where 47 pigs died from the disease, was confirmed by China Animal Health and Epidemiolology Center on Friday August 3, 11 a.m., local time," SHIC reported.

SHIC noted that the Chinese Center For Disease Control and Prevention officially reports a level two outbreak, and "it has been contained with the slaughter of a herd of close to 1,000 pigs," the center reported.

"The transport of pigs in and out of the area has been banned, along with the feeding of untreated food waste," SHIC stated.

In the event of a major outbreak, the Chinese Center for Disease Control (CCDC) said that provincial veterinary authorities in the affected provinces will "immediately launch a working day reporting system for the prevention and control of ASF, and suspend the transfer of live pigs and related products from the affected counties and districts."

Relevant provinces are required to carry out emergency epidemiological investigation, according to the CCDC. All relevant departments are working together to prevent and control the epidemic, "in accordance with their respective responsibilities."

Thousands of miles from any known case of ASF, the introduction into China is a major concern, SHIC stated. It said the way that this disease was introduced is unknown, "but it is indicative that this disease can travel long distances, not only in infected pigs but also by contaminated food, feed, with international travelers, and other articles."

Officials noted there is major concern about ASF spreading further in the Chinese pig herd, and potentially to Japan, the Korean Peninsula and other parts of Asia.

The current ASF challenge outside Africa started in 2007 in Georgia, from there to the Russian Federation and eastern Europe, including EU countries in the Baltic States, Ukraine, Poland, Czech Republic. Latvia and Romania are facing now several ASF outbreaks, and its rapid spread in wild boars and commercial herds.

The Global Agricultural Information Network reports that pork producers and animal quarantine officials in Bulgaria are currently monitoring for African swine fever (ASF), as recent ASF outbreaks have occurred just over the border with Romania, and elsewhere in the region. Pork remains the most widely produced and consumed meat in Bulgaria.

The history of ASF outbreaks in Europe highlights the factors affecting spread as well as the challenges for eradication. In regions with mainly housed commercial pig production, spread was successfully prevented in the past through strict animal movement control and implementation of culling policies, states an article in the U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health. In contrast, extensive pig production systems with poor biosecurity facilitate the establishment of the disease in the first place, as was seen in Portugal and southwest Spain in 1960.

Farm Journal's PORK reported on the challenges with African Swine Fever in Europe earlier this year in this article:

"The People's Republic of China has more than half of the world's pig population, with thousands of backyard and large-scale farms operating in the northern, central and southern regions, and currently produces about half of the world's pork and is the top consumer of the meat," SHIC reports. "If this virus is already in other herds, the challenge to contain the disease in this region will be daunting. By the time of document, this single outbreak was officially reported, and no other outbreaks have been published."

No vaccines are currently available for ASF, so prevention methods, such as further surveillance, rapid response, and restriction of sales and animal movement are critical.

"This outbreak illustrates again that protection against this foreign animal diseases (FAD's) not only involves vigilance at our borders, but on each of our farms [in the U.S.], SHIC said in the news release. "Restrictions of the introduction of imported foodstuffs, especially meats, and recent travelers, especially from countries battling FAD's, should be examined."

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