WARNING: Deadly PIG disease could bring down Chinese economy sparking GLOBAL crisis

Thursday, November 9, 2017
By Paul Martin

A KILLER pig disease which could spread to China and cripple its economy has sparked fears a ‘global’ crisis with reports SIX countries in the European Union have already detected cases of the deadly virus.

Thu, Nov 9, 2017

Up until now, China has managed to remain largely unscathed by the African swine fever (ASF), which has a mortality rate of 100 per cent in pigs, as outbreaks have sparked across Europe, South America and the Caribbean.

Scientists fear that should ASF spread to China, the ramifications could be catastrophic for the world, as the nation is central to major trade links.

François Roger, a researcher with French Agricultural Research Centre for International Development (CIRAD), said: “Each year, China produces 500 million pigs, including 40 per cent on small family farms that sometimes have just one or two pigs.

“The country could become a vast virus reservoir if ASF were to become established.

“This would be a threat to emerging economies in Southeast Asia, where pig rearing is growing rapidly. Moreover, the economic and cultural impact would be devastating, as pigs play a central role in these Asian societies. The authorities in China are aware of this, and are keen to improve the country’s preparedness before the disease arrives.”

While some nations have banned imports from countries affected by ASF, researchers have warned about the possible risks from smuggling.

The deadly virus easily survives in processed products such as cured meats.

Mr Roger, who is the deputy director of the joint CIRAD unit ‘Animal, Health, Territories, Risks and Ecosystems’, said: “One bit of leftover contaminated sandwich that is thrown away and then eaten by a pig is all it takes to trigger an epidemic.

“But waste and swill from aircraft, boats and restaurants are often used in Chinese pig farms.”

The practice which is now banned in most countries is believed to have been behind the introduction of ASF into Georgia in 2007 which later spread to eastern Europe and Russia, and into Madagascar.

According to the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) six EU countries have reported cases including the Czech Republic and Romania who are the latest to be infected.

Estonia recorded its first case of ASF in farmed pigs in July 2015 and within a month almost 15,000 were dead.

Lithuania and Poland have also reported cases of the deadly virus, while Latvia has declared an ASF emergency after more than 10,000 pigs died.

The EFSA said: “The disease is continuing to spread among wild boar. In 2017 two additional EU Member States – the Czech Republic and Romania – reported cases bringing the number of affected Member States to six.

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