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African swine fever resurfaces in Asian countries

African swine fever resurfaces in Asian countries
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African swine fever, a disease that has killed tens of millions of pigs, has resurfaced in several Asian countries this year, with governments scrambling to get ahead of the spread.

China, Vietnam and Malaysia have documented cases of the disease that has previously ravaged herd populations in the region, Bloomberg News reported on Monday. 

So far, the new cases are isolated, but the reemergence of the virus, which is not known to harm humans, is sparking concerns about another potential meat shortage. 

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China, where half of the world’s hogs live, has found cases in Hebei, Henan, Sichuan, Yunnan and Xinjiang, according to Bloomberg. Beijing has vowed to stop illegal vaccines for the virus, which have been connected to the recent outbreaks.

The reemergence threatens the goals of the country, which has been the hardest hit by the swine fever since its first outbreak in 2018, to achieve full hog herd recovery by the middle of this year. Economic experts are monitoring China’s number of hogs to determine the nation’s need for imported grains and meat.

In Vietnam, about 2,000 pigs have been culled through late February as more than 20 regions have documented new cases, Bloomberg reported, citing the agriculture ministry. The country had lost almost 6 million pigs in 2019 when the disease struck herds. Vietnam expects to have its official vaccine against the virus ready this summer.

Malaysia confirmed its first ever case of the African swine fever last month, leading the government to announce that 3,000 pigs will be culled in the state of Sabah. The state government reportedly said on Sunday that while the virus had been found in other districts, the commercial pig farms have not experienced outbreaks.