TAIPEI (Taiwan News) - Taiwan for the first time found African swine fever, in a batch of sausages brought in from China by a traveler, but the virus had not reached any pig farms, reports said Wednesday.
Similar incidents had also happened in Japan and South Korea, with Chinese sausages the culprit each time, according to the Apple Daily.
Travelers who bring meat products into Taiwan from areas affected by African swine fever face fines up to NT$15,000 (US$484), though there are proposals to raise the maximum to NT$300,000. Over the past 10 days, 73 cases were uncovered, or 266 since September, the authorities said.
The virus could survive for months in frozen pork, while the death rate for pigs contracting African swine fever could reach 100 percent, according to experts.
A key problem was the feeding of kitchen leftovers to pigs, which was the most common way the fever could spread, reports said. Taiwan counts 5.4 million pigs at 7,600 farms, of which 2,300 fed their animals with leftovers, indicating the size of the problem, the Apple Daily reported.
In early October, Japan found the virus in a batch of 1.5 kilograms of sausages brought in by a traveler from China to Hokkaido. A total of 13 cities, areas and provinces in China have been affected, with 53 cases of African swine fever recorded.