TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — African swine fever has hit yet another Chinese province, Reuters reports Wednesday.
China’s Ministry of Agriculture confirmed the disease was found on a farm containing 4,504 pigs in Jinan, the capital of Shandong province.
The eastern province of Shandong is an important livestock production site, and the spread of infection in the area could induce another major hit to China’s hog market. So far, 17 hogs in the region have been infected and three have died, according to a statement from the ministry.
The news comes less than 24 hours after it was announced the southern autonomous region of Guangxi had been hit by the contagious disease. 27 of China’s 34 provinces, autonomous regions and municipalities have now verified local swine fever infections.
Swine fever has also been detected on three farms in Vietnam, Reuters reports. Vietnamese authorities confirmed the infections on Tuesday, and said that all pigs on the farms have been culled.
Vietnam is the third Asian country to be hit by the outbreak, following reports of infections in Mongolia five months after the disease was first detected in China.
Swine fever cannot harm human but is deadly to pigs—and there is currently no cure. China is both the world’s biggest producer and consumer of pork, meaning pigs are vital to its economy, and authorities have rolled out 9 million kilos of pork from national reserves so far in an attempt to stabilize the market.
The reason why the disease is so hard to eliminate is the virus is remarkably adaptable and can survive extreme conditions. Research from Iowa State University indicates that while it lives for up to a month in contaminated pens, it remains infectious in stored meat for up to 150 days, and several years in frozen carcasses.
Despite worry following news of several hog carcasses washing up on its shores, Taiwan has not reported any cases of infection.