China finds African swine fever in country's south, fuelling supply worries
China’s three-month old outbreak of African swine fever has spread for the first time to the country’s south, its major pork-consuming region, signaling how deeply the deadly disease has permeated the country’s pig herd, the world’s largest.
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,” said Feng Yonghui, chief analyst at industry portal Soozhu.com, referring to the spread of disease from northeast to southwest.
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.
“Now there’s only some provinces that haven’t confirmed any cases but it’s very unlikely that they will be clean. Basically, it’s already everywhere,” said Pan Chenjun, a senior analyst at Rabobank.
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 media Yunnan Daily said on Monday.