As the African swine fever (ASF) situation worsens in many parts of the world, China has become increasingly concerned about the potential introduction of the disease. On 4 July 2014, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) launched a Technical Cooperation Program (TCP) project to increase the preparedness, and develop strategies for the prevention and control of ASF in China. FAO will partner with the Chinese Ministry of Agriculture, the China Animal Health and Epidemiology Center (CAHEC) and the China Animal Disease Prevention and Control Center (CADC).
With the increased circulation of ASF virus worldwide, there is growing global concern that ASF could spread into East Asia from ASF-endemic areas. With China relying heavily on the pork production industry and owning almost half the world’s domestic pig population, an incursion of ASF would have a catastrophic impact on trade and pig production, with serious implications for global food security.
In the event of an incursion of ASF in China, the control of the disease would be further complicated by two facts: i) the largest percentage of national pork output comes from small backyard production systems with low biosecurity measures; ii) the well-developed highway system allows for rapid movement of pigs from one province to another. A further knock-on effect of the disease spreading into neighboring countries in Asia would pose a severe economic challenge to the world.
This is the first FAO project to deal specifically with the threat of an ASF incursion. The main aims are to improve the overall national level of preparedness for ASF through capacity-building activities on risk assessment, diagnostic capacity and epidemiology and awareness campaigns for farmers and veterinarians. The project will focus on organizing in-country training activities for laboratory diagnosis, carrying out active surveillance in risk areas and outbreak investigation at national and provincial levels.
Monday, october 6 2014/ FAO.