Emergency meeting convened to address swine fever threat
Pia Lee-Brago (The Philippine Star) - September 20, 2018 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — The United Nations agriculture agency recently held a three-day emergency meeting of animal experts in response to the deadly swine fever that threatens Asian countries.

The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) warned that the rapid onset of the African Swine Fever (ASF) in China was detected in areas a thousand kilometers apart – posing an imminent threat to other Asian nations.

The FAO meeting was held to examine the most recent developments in China following the outbreak of ASF in the country, and agree on a regional response.

The specialists – veterinary epidemiologists, laboratory experts as well as senior technical staff directly involved with regulatory aspects of disease prevention and control planning – were drawn from nine countries with geographical proximity to China, and perceived to be at risk of a transboundary spread of ASF. 

The participants are from the Philippines, Cambodia, China, Japan, Lao PDR, Mongolia, Myanmar, Republic of Korea, Thailand and Vietnam. Experts from outside of the region also attended as well participants from the private commercial swine sector.

Outbreaks of African Swine Fever have occurred in Europe and the Americas as early as the 1950s and through the 1980s. However, in 2007, a new introduction of ASF occurred in the Republic of Georgia, which then spread to neighboring countries and deeply affected Eastern Europe. 

FAO said ASF is new to Asia and poses a significant threat.

In Asia, ASF was first detected at a pig farm in the Siberian region of the Russian Federation in March 2017. In China, the virus was discovered in the country’s northeast at the beginning of August this year. Since then, five additional cases have been reported in other areas of China a thousand kilometers apart.

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