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Chinese pork ears test positive for African swine fever

2019/03/12 21:28:06

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

Taipei, March 12 (CNA) A package of cured pork ears produced in China has tested positive for African swine fever (ASF), bringing the total number of such cases to 31, Taiwan's Central Emergency Operation Center for ASF said Tuesday.

The package, which originated in the city of Chengdu in the southwestern province of Sichuan, was tested for ASF March 1 after it was found discarded in a bin at Taipei Songshan Airport, 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 which were 100 percent identical to those of the swine fever virus strain in China, according to the center.

Since October 2018, a total of 31 pork products from China have been confirmed to be infected with ASF -- one in October, two in November, four in December, 11 in January, 11 in February and two in March, according to statistics on the center's website.

As of March 8, 112 outbreaks had been reported in 28 Chinese provinces, autonomous regions and municipalities, with more than 950,000 pigs having been culled, according to data published on the website of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations.

China confirmed its first ASF outbreak in Liaoning Province Aug. 3, 2018, the website said.

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$2.59 billion) per 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 William Yen)
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