China reports first African swine fever outbreak in Beijing

China’s agriculture ministry said on Friday it has confirmed African swine fever on two farms in Beijing, the first cases in the Chinese capital.

The disease was detected on two farms in Fangshan district, in the southwest of the city, the ministry said.

About 70 cases of highly contagious African swine fever have been reported in China since early August. The disease does not affect humans but is often fatal to animals.

Beijing has not yet said how the disease first entered the country but the ministry found 62pc of the first 21 outbreaks were related to the feeding of kitchen waste, a statement published on its website said.

“These outbreaks were mostly located in urban-rural boundaries, and were particularly evident in several cases in early September in Anhui province,” the statement said. Anhui is an eastern province whose capital Hefei is located about 415 km (258 miles) west of Shanghai.

The virus was also detected in kitchen waste fed to pigs on a farm in the Inner Mongolia region, it added.

“After the provinces with outbreaks and neighboring provinces completely banned feeding of kitchen waste to pigs, the epidemic was greatly reduced, which fully demonstrates the importance of completely prohibiting the feeding of waste,” the statement said.

Kitchen waste or swill is widely used in China to feed hogs, particularly by small farmers, as it is cheaper than manufactured pig feed.

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Regulations require that the swill must be heated to a certain temperature before being consumed but industry experts say that step is often skipped.

The ministry also said in the statement it will set up a registration system for vehicles transporting live hogs, poultry and other livestock to control the spread of the disease better.


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