Illustrative image (Source: VNA)

HCM City (VNA) -
Authorities in the southern largest economic hub of Ho Chi Minh City have been taking drastic measures in response to African swine fever after outbreaks were reported in the neighbouring province of Dong Nai.

According to the city’s Sub-department of Veterinary Health, no pigs with African swine fever had been discovered. However the swine fever had attacked Dong Nai province which provides up to 50 percent of pork for HCM City, so the chances were high that it could spread.

Some 4,000 pigs from northern provinces are sent from HCM City to be distributed in the Mekong Delta everyday. This also poses the risk of disease spreading in southern provinces.

Huynh Tan Phat, the sub-department’s deputy head, said that management of pigs imported to the city had been tightened.

However, it was difficult to control pork dispatched from other provinces and shipped to the city’s markets for consumption.

Phat urged authorities in southern provinces and cities to collaborate to prevent the disease from spreading.

Meanwhile, illegal slaughterhouses in districts 12, Go Vap and Binh Tan posed a threat of African swine fever infecting HCM City’s pig population.

There are nearly 4,000 pig farming households with some 274,000 pigs in the city, of which 274 households feed pigs with leftover food, one of the main causes of the disease.

Since May 2, pigs have only been transported to HCM City via national highways 1A and 1K, and are being sterilised at Thu Duc and Xuan Hiep quarantine checkpoints.

Quarantine certificates are not being issued for slaughterhouses in affected areas.

Checkpoints have been set up along borders with neighbouring provinces including Binh Duong and Long An.

Binh Phuoc province on May 9 reported its first case of African swine fever at a smallholding in Tan Lien ward, Tan Phu town, Dong Phu district. Seven pigs were culled immediately.

On the same day, provincial authorities held an urgent meeting to discuss solutions for African swine fever.

Binh Phuoc province has a 260km border with Cambodia and serves as a transit area between the southern Central Highlands and southeast provinces, making it hard to control the disease.

The province is home to 11,000 pig-farming households and 250 farms with some 740,000 pigs.-VNA