Pig carcass found in New Taipei infected with African swine fever

04/06/2021 09:06 PM
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Photo courtesy of the Bureau of Animal and Plant Health Inspection and Quarantine
Photo courtesy of the Bureau of Animal and Plant Health Inspection and Quarantine

Taipei, April 6 (CNA) A pig carcass found in New Taipei two days ago has been confirmed as carrying the first case of African swine fever (ASF) reported on Taiwan proper, although nearby pig farms have been cleared of the disease, the Council of Agriculture (COA) said Tuesday.

Coast Guard officials found the pig near the Guihou Fish Port in New Taipei's Wanli District early Sunday and test results the next day showed that it had been infected with ASF, COA Minister Chen Chi-chung (陳吉仲) said at a press conference.

ASF is an incurable, highly contagious disease that infects pigs and there is no vaccine against it. The disease cannot be transmitted from pigs to humans and is not a threat to human health.

To determine where the pig might have come from, the COA and New Taipei government officials on Monday evening inspected all of the 11 pig farms within a 10-kilometer radius of where the carcass was found, Chen said.

Of the 11 farms, five are located in Wanli District and six in neighboring Jinshan District, and have a combined stock of 2,719 pigs, according to Chen.

All the animals appeared healthy, so the authorities chose 15 from each farm at random for ASF testing. All of the results came back negative, which ruled out the possibility that the infected pig was disposed of by a nearby farm, Taiwan's Central Emergency Operation Center for ASF said in a statement.

It is possible, however, that the infected pig drifted to Taiwan from another country and was washed ashore, although the center will nevertheless conduct more tests on pig farms in Taoyuan and New Taipei this week to get a better understanding of the situation, the center said.

Genome sequencing of the virus found in the infected pig showed a partial match of two different strains of ASF, both of which have previously been recorded in China, according to the center.

Since 2018, 15 pigs have been found to be infected with ASF in Taiwan, all of which were found dead, close to the shore. Besides the case reported on Tuesday, 12 of the cases were reported in the offshore county of Kinmen and two on the Matsu Islands, COA data shows.

(By Yang Su-min, Wang Hung-kuo, and Chiang Yi-ching)

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