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Another pork product from China tests positive for African swine fever

2019/03/07 20:29:28

Photo courtesy of the Bureau of Animal and Plant Health Inspection and Quarantine

Taipei, March 7 (CNA) A packet of pork wonton originating in China has tested positive for African swine fever (ASF), bringing the total number of such cases to 30, Taiwan's Central Emergency Operation Center for ASF said Thursday.

The packet of pork wonton was found discarded in a bin at the Port of Taipei by a passenger who traveled from Pingtan in China's Fujian Province by cruise ship Feb. 20, the center said.

Samples were sent to the Council of Agriculture's Animal Health Research Institute for laboratory testing and found to contain sequences of gene fragments identical to those of the swine fever virus strain in China, according to the center.

Since October 2018, a total of 30 pork products from China have been confirmed as infected with ASF, including one in October, two in November, four in December, 11 in January, 11 in February and one in March.

The total number of products that have tested positive for ASF in Taiwan has been rising on a monthly basis, said Feng Hai-tung (馮海東), head of the COA's Bureau of Animal and Plant Health Inspection and Quarantine (BAPHIQ).

This shows that the ASF outbreak in China is still at its peak, Feng said.

China confirmed its first ASF outbreak in Liaoning Province in August 2018.

As of March 1, 111 outbreaks had been reported in 28 provinces, autonomous region and municipalities, with more than 950,000 pigs having been culled, according to data published by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations.

Taiwan is on high alert, concerned that the spread of the virus from China could hit its pig farming industry which is worth NT$80 billion (US$2.64 billion) a year.

Although ASF does not affect humans, the virus is deadly to pigs and there is no known cure or vaccine.

(By Yang Su-min and Evelyn Kao)