The mission team included experts on ASF, emergency management, Depopulation, Disposal and Decontamination (3D), the swine industry and technical staff from the Viet Nam Department of Animal Health (DAH) and FAO Viet Nam.
The mission objectives were to: i) Advise the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) on the best practices for culling affected pigs and disposal of carcasses; ii) Advise on the best use of available resources to contain the spread of the ASF virus in the local context; iii) Propose immediate, short and medium-term actions. The aim is to combine these actions with the Viet Nam Emergency Response Action Plan for ASF preparedness and control, other regional ASF projects and provide the basis for the formulation of a national ASF response project.
The team visited affected provinces and met with leaders of Departments of Animal Health, Livestock Production and provincial authorities to assess the current outbreak response measures and resources allocated to control the outbreak, as well as to investigate how ASF is spreading.
“The Department of Livestock Production (DLP) estimated over 2.5 million households in Viet Nam are currently actively engaged in pig farming. As such, the loss of pigs due to ASF infection and control measures leads to a heavy economic burden to many rural families. Together with other international partners, FAO will be doing its best to support the Viet Nam government in coping with the disease and its consequences.” said Mr Albert T. Lieberg, FAO Representative in Viet Nam.
The team visited both ASF infected and non-infected pig farms, burial sites and a pig slaughterhouse in Hai Phong city and Thai Binh province, where they collected information on disease epidemiology and observed current 3D practices. Although the local government authorities have been implementing strict movement control of pigs and pig products from infected communes, mobilising their resources for pig culling and disposal, small pig farming models with low biosecurity and swill feeding still continue to facilitate ASF spread.
“It is critically important for all media to accurately inform the public of the facts. ASF is a very contagious disease between pigs that has no direct threat to human health. Good biosecurity is the key factor to keeping pigs safe from ASF. Infected and exposed pigs have to be destroyed to prevent further spread” quoted Mr Ian Dacre, mission team leader.
To enhance the ASF response capacities and prevent its further spread, the mission team proposed immediate, short and medium-term actions to the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development. Some of the key recommended actions included declaring the ASF outbreak as a national emergency, applying a zoning approach to prevent long-distance ASF spread and developing standard operating producers for swine depopulation and carcass disposal.
Tuesday March 19, 2019/ FAO.