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Cambodia confirms first case of African swine fever

4th Apr 2019 / By Alistair Driver

Cambodia has reported its first outbreak of African swine fever (ASF) in backyard pigs near the Vietnam border. 

Cambodia mapThe country's first case was confirmed on Tuesday. The OIE's case report shows 400 pigs out of a population of 500 were killed by ASF in Soamkanign in the Rattanakiri province in an outbreak that began on March 22. The remaining 100 pigs were killed and disposed of, according to the Cambodian agriculture ministry.

The development comes as little surprise given the rate at which the virus has been spreading in neighbouring since the first case was reported there in February.

The disease has spread across China since August 2018. While there just have over 100 cases confirmed since then, it has emerged recently that the true scale of the outbreak has been under-reported, with the Chinese pig herd currently down 19% year-on-year and productivity expected to take a big hit this year.

The virus has also been discovered in Mongolia and there are fears other countries in the region, including Thailand and Taiwan, are vulnerable. 

Infected meat products

There is concern, in particular, over the threat posed by movements of infected meat products. Contaminated meat has already been found at ports and airports in several countries, including Australia, the US, Japan, Taiwan and South Korea. 

The Japanese Government revealed on Tuesday that the virus had been detected 'in a contagious state' on Japanese soil for the first time. The virus was discovered in sausages brought into the country from China in January, according to the Japan Times

The sausages were brought into Japan, apparently as souvenirs, by two passengers arriving separately at Chubu airport near Nagoya on planes from Shanghai and Qingdao on January 12.

The Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries said the discovery of an infectious form of the virus has prompted a decision to strengthen measures against illegal imports of livestock products. 

So far no ASF infections have been reported in pigs in Japan. Under the law on infectious disease control for domestic animals, people who bring unauthorized animal products into the country could face a fine of up to 1 million yen or imprisonment for up to three years.