Piglets by a sow at a pig farm in Zhoukou, Henan province, China (Source: Reuters)
 
Bangkok (VNA) – As the African swine fever (ASF) has started to spread in China, the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) organised an emergency meeting in Bangkok on September 5 to discuss the threat of the virus across Asia.

The three-day meeting has brought together specialists in animal disease and agricultural policy from China and its nine neighbouring countries - namely Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, the Philippines, Thailand, Vietnam, Japan, Mongolia, and the Republic of Korea.

They will assess the situation and determine a plan for coordination and response in the region.

“It’s critical that this region be ready for the very real possibility that ASF could jump the border into other countries,” the FAO’s Wantanee Kalpravidh said in a statement.

China reported its first case in the northeastern Liaoning province earlier last month. The disease has since spread south, prompting a cull of 38,000 pigs.

African swine fever does not affect humans but causes haemorrhagic fever in pigs and wild boars that is almost always fatal.

There is no antidote or vaccine, and the only known preventative measure is a mass cull of infected livestock.

Swine fever spreads by contact between infected pigs, ticks, or other wild animals and can inflict massive economic damage on farms. –VNA