African swine fever Photograph:( Reuters )
The African swine fever virus continues to be a concern, with 11 instances documented so far in 2021, forcing the slaughter of almost 2,000 pigs, according to China's agricultural ministry in July.
In southern China, almost 10,000 pigs were housed in a 13-story facility with restricted access, security cameras, in-house veterinarian services, and special diets.
The goal of such 'hog hotels' is to keep pigs, China's major source of meat, free of diseases.
COVID-19 emerged two years after African swine flu killed off almost half of China's farmed pigs.
African swine fever, which kills pigs in the same way as Ebola kills people, produced a major epidemic in China in 2018.
Within a year, approximately half of the country's herd of more than 400 million pigs had been wiped off, amounting to more than the combined yearly output of the United States and Brazil, resulting in skyrocketing prices and unprecedented imports.
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Despite this, the virus continues to be a concern, with 11 instances documented so far in 2021, forcing the slaughter of almost 2,000 pigs, according to China's agricultural ministry in July.
The ministry stated that the introduction of novel strains that appear to exhibit milder symptoms and have a longer incubation time is challenging attempts to detect and respond to outbreaks.
In August 2018, African swine fever was discovered along China's border with Russia, and it quickly spread to all 31 mainland provinces, municipalities, and autonomous areas in less than nine months.
This resulted in the mass slaughter of more than 100 million pigs, as well as a considerable increase in the price of pork, up to 50% in some circumstances.
Due to rising tariffs, the American agriculture industry's replacement choices were restricted as a result of the trade war with the US.
China consumed almost half of the world's pork in 2018, but more than 95 percent of it came from local sources.
(With inputs from agencies)