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Floods in China blamed for new ASF outbreaks

Southern China is seeing fresh outbreaks of African swine fever after heavy rains and flooding.

10 July 2020, at 11:26am

Reuters reports that heavy rains and flooding across China’s south since mid-June have triggered fresh cases of ASF. The new cases represent a significant setback in China’s goal of replenishing its pork supplies.

In the last year, China’s hog herd shrunk by about 180 million pigs (nearly 40 percent) following outbreaks of African swine fever. Pig producers are building new farms and restocking to shore up pork production and to prevent pork prices from skyrocketing.

Though ASF outbreaks have declined in 2020 due to improved biosecurity, hygiene and smaller herd sizes, the disease remains a stumbling block for pork producers.

Zheng Lili, chief analyst with consultancy Shandong Yongyi conducted a survey of small pig farmers, corporate farmers, traders and abattoirs across 20 provinces in China. The research revealed dozens of ASF cases that emerged after the heavy rainfall in Guangdong province, the Guangxi region and other areas.

Since farmers usually bury infected pigs, analysts suggest that the disease may have spread through groundwater.

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