African swine fever spreads to South-East Asia

Jun 19, 2019

THERE ARE few dishes that a typical Filipino, Thai or Vietnamese would not consider improved by the addition of pork. What better to stuff a squid with, or garnish a bowl of steaming noodles, or simply spit-roast and scoff? No wonder, then, that South-East Asia is home to more than 83m pigs. But the outbreak of African swine fever that has swept through China in recent months is now spreading across the region. Its governments are likely to find it no easier than China’s to contain the disease, which is harmless to humans but typically fatal to pigs.

Swine fever first crossed the border from China into Vietnam in February. It has gradually worked its way south, and in April spread to Cambodia (see map). Thailand fears it is next. In fact, the disease could already be there or elsewhere: experts worry that monitoring and reporting are patchy.

Pigs catch the disease from each other, from contaminated surfaces, from ticks and from food (slop...

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