Sunday, September 16, 2018

Russia: Rosselkhoznadzor Tracing ASF Contaminated Meat Products

DEFRA Map - Sept 4th


Regular readers of this blog will recall that a little over a year ago Russian food safety officials were scrambling to remove tons of H5N8 contaminated poultry products from their food chain (see Rosselkhoznador: HPAI Contaminated Poultry Shipped To At Least 9 Regions Of Russia).
We saw a somewhat less publicized repeat earlier this summer, but in recent weeks the focus has been on the rapid spread (in China, Russia, and Eastern & Central Europe) of African Swine Fever.
Although infected wild boar are undoubtedly responsible for some of its  geographic spread, many of its recent territorial gains have been measured in hundreds of kilometers over a matter of days or weeks, making contaminated food products a prime suspect.

On Friday, the UK's DEFRA weighed in on the sudden jump of ASF to wild boar in Belgium (see UK: DEFRA Preliminary Assessment Of ASF Reported In Belgium). They wrote:
It is not believed to have been through movement of wild boar as there are no known cases in close proximity to this area of Belgium. Given the distance between other confirmed cases of ASF in wild boar, it is most likely that infection has been introduced by movement of fomites or infected meat products from ASF- infected areas, in other words, human mediated.
Last month in South Korea Detects ASF Gene In Chinese Food Products: Additional Testing Underway, we saw the first of several discoveries of the ASF gene (via preliminary PCR testing) in food products brought into that country by travelers returning from China. 

Taiwan, which has a large swine industry, has recently announced a `maximum penalty' for anyone caught smuggling raw pork products into the country.
Travelers smuggling raw pork from China to face maximum penalty
2018/09/02 19:23:01

Taipei, Sept. 2 (CNA) Anyone caught attempting to smuggle raw pork into Taiwan from China, where a highly contagious and deadly disease is spreading through hog farms, will be slapped with a fine of NT$15,000 (US$488) -- the maximum penalty for such a crime, the Cabinet-level Council of Agriculture (COA) has announced.
(Continue . . . )
But even smoked or dried products are believed capable of harboring the virus - albeit at reduced levels - and it seems likely that China's recent spread of ASF to 7 Provinces may have been caused by either legally or illegally imported food (or pig feed) products from Eastern Europe or Russia.

Which brings us to the following announcement from Russia's Rosselkhoznadzor.
On the detection of the genome of the ASF virus in finished meat products in the Perm Krai
September 14, 2018

© Central unit

The Federal Service for Veterinary and Phytosanitary Surveillance reports on the detection of the genome of the African swine fever virus (ASF) in ready-made meat products that have entered the territory of the Perm Territory.

According to accompanying documents, the products were produced on August 19, 2018 in LLC "YuVINA" in the Slavsk district of the Kaliningrad region, and entered the address of an individual entrepreneur for further implementation in the Perm region.

As a result of laboratory studies conducted by the Rosselkhoznadzor of the FGBU "VNIIZH" on September 12, 2018, the genetic material of the causative agent of the African swine fever was identified in samples of meat products.

Currently, specialists of the State Veterinary Inspection of Perm Krai under the supervision of employees of the territorial department of the Rosselkhoznadzor are taking measures to prevent the further spread of unsafe products.

This announcement comes somewhat inconveniently just 3 days after Russia's Federal Service for Veterinary and Phytosanitary Surveillance released their analysis of the likely origin of China's ASF epidemic; strongly suggesting that food imports from ASF affected EU countries are the probable source.

I'll have a postscript following their report.

Rosselkhoznadzor comment on the possible ways of introduction of ASF in China
September 11, 2018

© Central body

Subordinated to the Rosselkhoznadzor FGBU "Federal Center for Health Protection of Animals" has conducted an analysis of the Chinese scientists intermediate results of the epidemiological investigation, under which determine the source of introduction of ASF virus was not possible in China, as well as materials of molecular genetic and phylogenetic analysis of isolates of ASF virus isolated during the first two outbreaks infection.

After examining this information, the Russian experts came to the conclusion that the virus isolates are similar (sufficient homology) with virus isolates from most countries in Eastern Europe (Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, Poland), Africa and the Caucasus. It should be noted that the analysis was based on the detection (presence) of only one additional fragment of 10 bp sequence integrated into the genome between the genes and I73R I329L. There is abundant evidence leading Spanish and Russian scientists was the discovery of this fragment into the genome of the virus ACHS released recently in Eastern and Central Europe (Poland, Moldova, Romania, Hungary, Czech Republic).
In this regard, Rosselkhoznadzor said that there are two possible ways of introduction of ASF version in China.

The first and most likely - a drift of the virus in China from one of the EU countries, given that agricultural trade between China and the EU is very well developed, including the supply of pig production are carried out.

According to the statistical service of "Eurostat" European Union exports to China of products with codes TH-FEA: 0203 (fresh, chilled or frozen pork), 0209 (lard) in 2017 were carried out by Poland and Romania, which are already happening widely ASF . In the first six months of 2018 Romania has continued to export above products in China. Also, do not stop supplying pig products from Hungary, after in April the first outbreak of African swine fever has been recorded there.

An indirect confirmation of this version is the presence in the province Lyaolin highly developed transport infrastructure, in particular the airport, located near Shenyang, a major highway, surrounding himself Shenyang and seaport of Dalian (the largest in the north-east China), serving ships of more than 300 ports, located in more than 160 countries around the world (including Europe). Given the parameters of the port, if the virus will soon (in September and October of this year) will be in the area of ​​the Beijing-Qingdao-Shanghai-Taydzhou, it would be an indirect confirmation of ASF introduction through Dalian.

The second - less likely, but theoretically possible - is the spread of ASF virus through the population of feral pigs out of the South Caucasus, which took place on the primary skid virus from Africa in 2007, on the Iran-Afghanistan-Pakistan vector (for various reasons in these countries may take place hidden spread of ASF virus in the wild).
Rosselkhoznadzor considers this version is unlikely for two reasons. The first is that the rate of spread of ASF in wild boar populations is low and, according to reports, is not more than 120 km per year. Thus, during the spread of the virus in 2007, he did not have in the population of wild boar spread more than 1.4 thousand. Km, while the distance from Georgia to the westernmost territory of China is more than 5.5 thousand. Km. If so, in case of implementation of this version,
In order to establish the most likely ways of skidding of African swine fever in China, experts subordinated to the Rosselkhoznadzor FGBU "Federal Center for Animal Health" recommends the Chinese side to conduct additional research by sekvinirovaniya other are variable sections of the genome, for which data are available in the international database GenBank genome data (for example: Sem. MGF, CVR gene B602L), and thus genome-sequencing. Upon receipt of this data can be made conclusions about the related accessories between isolates of ASF virus from China and other countries.

Russia doesn't mention itself as a potential source, despite battling the virus for over a decade. It is important to identify the origin and route of China's infection - not to place blame - but in order to shut down further importations of the virus.
While ASF doesn't pose a direct threat to human health, the ramifications of its global spread could certainly have public health impacts. 
The most immediate involve the culling of pigs, which can deprive local populations of both the economic benefits and food protein of pork production. A particularly harsh blow for low-income, food-insecure regions of the world.

But as ASF (and Classical Swine Fever (CSF), Foot & Mouth Disease (FMD), & Avian Flu) spread, they also inhibit international trade, and compartmentalize counties and economies.
As we've discussed often in this blog, food insecurity - whether due to disease, floods, droughts, or other causes - can bring on severe economic and societal challenges (see Iran: Bird Flu, Food Insecurity & Civil Unrest).
The FAO's report The State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World 2017 shows a sharp rise in food insecurity around the world since 2014 (see chart below), and warns: AFTER A PROLONGED DECLINE, WORLD  HUNGER APPEARS TO BE ON THE RISE AGAIN.

All of which makes the spread of ASF, CSF, FMD, Avian Flu (and many other agricultural diseases) significant threats to global health and stability, and worthy of out attention.