African swine fever reported in Vietnam
Though it has not been officially reported to the OIE, the Vietnamese Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) Animal Health Department released a communication confirming African swine fever has been detected in two provinces in northern Vietnam, Hung Yen and Thai Binh, southeast of the capital city of Hanoi and about 100 miles from the Chinese border.
Eight outbreaks have been reported, and all pigs in the affected farms have been culled. Neighboring farms are being tested as well. Local authorities initiated general measures to contain the outbreaks and disinfect the area through quarantine and restrictions of animal movements, but, so far, the total number of cases is still uncertain.
Recently, on Feb. 15, Taiwanese authorities communicated that ASF was detected in seized pork products, presumably from Vietnam, at the Tainan airport. According to Taiwanese authorities, since late August 2018 they have been testing samples of pork products from foreign countries. From a total of 928 tested samples, 20 samples have been found to be ASF-contaminated. All positive samples originated from China, until this first case of a confiscated product of a passenger entering Taiwan on an airline coming from Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. On Feb. 15, FAO updated the ASF Situation site, detailing that the gene sequence showed 100 percent similarity with the ASF virus in China, but the exact source of the meat was unknown. As of last week, it has been speculated that the most likely route of introduction into Vietnam was through smuggling of contaminated pork products from China, based on volumes and price differentials between the two countries, which generated a positive gradient of pork products into Vietnam illegally.
Map 2. In red: first outbreaks of ASF in Vietnam. Dotted line illustrates distance to border with China.
The first case of ASF was reported in the Chinese province of Guangxi, making a total of 26 provinces affected by the disease since last August. Guangxi is one of the two Chinese provinces bordering Vietnam. The other neighboring province, Yunnan, reported its first ASF case last October.
So far this year, ASF has been reported in two countries that share borders with China, Mongolia and Vietnam, demonstrating the challenge that ASF represents to the entire region. ❖