China reported that African swine fever (ASF) has spread for the first time to Yunnan in the country’s south, its major pork-consuming region, according to Reuters.
Two new cases reported in the southwestern province of Yunnan on Sunday came as China enters its peak pig production period ahead of the country’s most important festival, the New Year holiday, which will be held in early February 2019.
“The thing that we worried about the most has now happened,” Feng Yonghui, chief analyst at industry portal Soozhu.com, said in reference to the spread of disease from northeast to southwest, Reuters reported.
China has reported more than 40 outbreaks of the highly contagious disease in 11 provinces and municipalities, culling an estimated 200,000 pigs. All outbreaks had been in the north and eastern provinces until the first case in Yunnan.
The latest outbreaks, first reported by the official CCTV, were on two small farms in Zhaotong, a city in the northeast of Yunnan. On Monday, another outbreak was reported in eastern Zhejiang province.
Zhaotong is located almost 3,000 km (1,865 miles) from the city of Shenyang in the northeastern province of Liaoning where the first outbreak was reported in early August, Reuters said.
A total of 545 pigs had already died on the two farms in Zhaotong when the disease was confirmed. Almost 7,000 pigs in the 3 km (1.9 miles) area around the farms will be culled by midday on Monday, the website of state-run media Yunnan Daily said on Monday, according to the Reuters report.
The cases in the southwest could have a major impact on the pork market, analysts warned, as the region both produces and consumes the most pork in China.
Sichuan province, which borders Yunnan, is China’s biggest pig-farming region, slaughtering 69 million pigs in 2016, according to official data. The Guangxi region, also next to Yunnan, produced 33 million pigs in 2016 and has expanded output, Reuters said.
Sausages in Japan
Meanwhile, Japan’s farm ministry said Monday ASF virus was detected in the luggage of a traveler from China at an airport in Hokkaido, Japan, according to Japanese news reports.
Sausages in the passenger’s luggage at the airport tested positive for the disease, and it is the first case of the virus being brought to Japan from overseas. No domestic case of infection with the ASF virus has been reported thus far.
According to Japan’s Agriculture, Forestry & Fisheries Ministry, the passenger arriving on Oct. 1 from Beijing, China, was found to have about 1.5 kg of sausages, which are prohibited from being brought into the country.
The passenger was asked to abandon the sausages, and they tested positive in the state’s genetic test conducted later.
The ministry said it is unlikely that food infected with ASF virus will cause an outbreak in Japan unless pigs in the country are fed infected food, the news services said.