FAO recommends Vietnam to declare ASF outbreak as a national emergency
The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), in collaboration with the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE), conducted an emergency response mission from 11 – 15 March 2019 in Vietnam to enhance the country’s ability to respond to and prevent further spread of African Swine Fever (ASF).
The mission team included experts on ASF, emergency management, Depopulation, Disposal and Decontamination (3D), the swine industry and technical staff from the Vietnam Department of Animal Health (DAH) and FAO Vietnam. "The Department of Livestock Production (DLP) estimated over 2.5 million households in Vietnam are currently actively engaged in pig farming. As such, the loss of pigs due to ASF infection and control measures leads to a heavy economic burden to many rural families", declared Albert T. Lieberg, FAO representative in Vietnam.
The virus was first detected in the country about a month ago and is probably originated from China. By now, ASF virus has been reported in 17 provinces of the country, with 239 outbreaks. The pig population in the country is estimated at 30 million animals and pork accounts for three-quarters of total meat consumption in Vietnam. Vietnam has been implementing strict movement control of pigs and pig products and culled more than 25,000. Although the local government authorities have been implementing strict movement control of pigs and pig products from infected communes, mobilising their resources for pig culling and disposal, small pig farming models with low biosecurity and swill feeding still continue to facilitate ASF spread.
Some of the key actions recommended by the international team of experts included declaring the ASF outbreak as a national emergency, applying a zoning approach to prevent long-distance ASF spread and developing standard operating producers for swine depopulation and carcass disposal.
In Asia, the disease was reported for the first time in China in August 2018 but since then has spread very quickly to large parts of the country despite the efforts and measures implemented by the Chinese Veterinary Services. On 19 February 2019, Viet Nam announced the first ASF outbreaks in Thai Binh and Hung Yen provinces. Farmers in Asia have limited knowledge of this disease and its specific epidemiology having only recently been introduced to the region. Despite public awareness campaigns, most of the countries and stakeholders in Asia are unprepared for ASF introduction and spread, said FAO in a press release.