In late August, at a time when African Swine Fever had only shown up in 4 Chinese provinces, the FAO warned that African swine fever (ASF) threatens to spread from China to other Asian countries. In that document the FAO described just how easily ASF can cross borders, and even oceans.
A robust virus with a long lifeSince then, ASF has been reported in 18 additional provinces and/or territories of China, and shows no signs of slowing.
The ASF virus is very hardy and can survive long periods in very cold and very hot weather, and even in dried or cured pork products. The strain detected in China is similar to one that infected pigs in eastern Russia in 2017 but, so far, and while the investigations continue, the China Animal Health and Epidemiology Center has found no conclusive evidence of this latest outbreak's source or linkages.
"The movement of pig products can spread diseases quickly and, as in this case of African Swine Fever, it's likely that the movement of such products, rather than live pigs, has caused the spread of the virus to other parts of China," explained Juan Lubroth, FAO's Chief Veterinarian.
While the Chinese government has blamed this rapid expansion primarily on improper cleaning and disinfection of livestock transport vehicles and the illegal movement of pigs, other suspected vectors include contaminated animal feed, feeding food scraps (`swill') to pigs, and the shipment of contaminated pork products.China's neighbors have yet to report any outbreaks in pigs, but we've seen multiple reports of the interdiction of ASF contaminated food illegally brought into South Korea, Japan, and Taiwan. A few examples include:
Japan MAFF: ASF Virus Detected In Luggage At Hokkaido Airport
South Korea Detects ASF Gene In Chinese Food Products: Additional Testing Underway
Travelers smuggling raw pork from China to face maximum penalty
In September Taiwan raised the penalty for illegally bringing in raw pork from China to a maximum of NT$15,000 - or about $480 US. Today, as the risks of importing the virus continue to rise, Taiwan has raised the maximum fine to between NT$10,000 and NT$1 million (aprox. $32,000 US).
This (translated) statement from Taiwan's BAPHIQ (Bureau of Animal Plant Health Inspection & Quarantine).
Starting today to raise the benchmark for layoffs, the Hong Kong Special Administrative Department and the Customs and Excise Department continue to seize passengers entering the country illegally.
The Agriculture, Animal and Plant Epidemic Prevention Bureau (AQSIQ) of the Agriculture Committee said today (18) that the swine fever epidemic in mainland China has continued to spread, and has expanded to 22 provinces/cities/districts, reaching 95 cases, indicating that the epidemic is severe.
In order to prevent the invasion of the African swine fever epidemic, the Anti-inspection Bureau continued to cooperate with the Customs and Excise Department to strengthen inspections of passenger baggage with a higher risk of influx of pigs in Africa.
The Anti-Inspection Bureau said that the amendment to Article 45 of the Animal Infectious Diseases Prevention and Control Ordinance has been in force since the 14th. The penalty for the entry of illegally carried animal products by passengers has been increased to a fine of NT$10,000 to NT$1 million.
According to statistics, there were 53 cases of punishment from the 14th to the 17th, including 18 pieces of 50,000 yuan (17 in mainland China, 1 in Hungary) and 33 pieces in 30,000 yuan (12 in mainland China, 14 in Vietnam, Thailand, There are 2 in Indonesia and Malaysia, 1 in Myanmar, 2 in 10,000 (one in mainland China and one in Japan), and there are still many people from mainland China and Vietnam.
The AFB added that the decision on the 14th announcement should be raised against the outside world. The bureau has announced that the benchmark will be revised again on the 18th. If the passengers have illegally carried pork products in the country within three years, The entry was seized. The first penalty was raised from 50,000 yuan to 200,000 yuan. The second violation was directly imposed for 1 million yuan. I hope that I can deter people who are lucky.
According to statistics, from 0:00 to 4:00 pm on the 18th, 2 airports in the country and ports (including the small three links) were found to have a fine of 200,000 yuan, one from China's mainland pork and one ham, and other cases were decided. 4 of them were fined 30,000 yuan, and the above 6 were seized at Taoyuan Airport; other airports and ports did not seize the case. The Anti-Inspection Bureau once again reminded that the penalties for passengers carrying illegal animal products have increased a lot. People should not try their own methods.
You'll find an English language report from today's Taipai Times at the link below:
LANGUAGE ISSUE?A COA official said that despite data showing mostly Taiwanese had been fined, many of them were Vietnamese or Chinese with ROC passports
By Lin Chia-nan / Staff reporter
Council of Agriculture Deputy Minister Huang Chin-cheng at a news conference in Taipei yesterday holds a board showing fines for illegally importing pork products from African swine fever-affected areas.
A central emergency operation center to oversee efforts to prevent African swine fever contagion is to open today, while fines for people caught illegally importing pork products from virus-affected areas have been increased, the Council of Agriculture (COA) said yesterday.
As most Chinese provinces have reported cases and illegal imports of Chinese meat products continue to be intercepted by customs agents, the government will step up prevention measures, the council said.
Premier William Lai (賴清德) and other officials are to attend the center’s first meeting today, COA Deputy Minister Huang Chin-cheng (黃金城) said.
Lai would also attend a nationwide drill simulating an outbreak, which was originally scheduled for Friday, but was postponed to Wednesday next week, Huang said.
(Continue . . . . )
While ASF does not pose a direct threat to human health, it can be devastating to pork producers, and its further spread in Asia could compromise already fragile food security in many regions
According to the FAO's most recent report, food insecurity and world hunger continue to increase, making agricultural diseases such as ASF, avian flu, FMD, and others important detriments to human health as well.
The 2018 State Of Food Security And Nutrition In The WorldAll of which make the progress of ASF around the world very much worth tracking.
RECENT TRENDS IN HUNGER AND FOOD INSECURITY
- New evidence continues to point to a rise in world hunger in recent years after a prolonged decline. An estimated 821 million people – approximately one out of every nine people in the world – are undernourished.
- Undernourishment and severe food insecurity appear to be increasing in almost all regions of Africa, as well as in South America, whereas the undernourishment situation is stable in most regions of Asia.
- The signs of increasing hunger and food insecurity are a warning that there is considerable work to be done to make sure we “leave no one behind” on the road towards a world with zero hunger.