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China reports African swine fever outbreak on Xinjiang farm holding 599 pigs

Published: Updated:

China reported an outbreak of African swine fever in Xinjiang region, the agriculture ministry said on Monday.

The outbreak occurred on a farm of Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps with 599 pigs.

Thirty-three pigs were infected and six died, the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs said in a statement. It added that the remaining live pigs in the affected area were culled.

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A wave of African swine fever outbreaks this year has wiped out at least 20 percent of the breeding herd in northern China, industry sources and analysts said, exceeding expected losses and raising fears about the potential for further impact in the south.

Millions of pigs have been culled as African Swine Fever cuts through China and beyond, devastating global food chains with pork prices expected to soar from the wet markets of Hong Kong to American dinner tables. (File photo: AFP)
Millions of pigs have been culled as African Swine Fever cuts through China and beyond, devastating global food chains with pork prices expected to soar from the wet markets of Hong Kong to American dinner tables. (File photo: AFP)

The estimates point to the extent of the disease's resurgence in the first quarter of 2021 after more than a year of declining outbreaks, heralding a significant setback to China's efforts to replenish its hog herds after African swine fever reached the country in August 2018 and wiped out 50% of the country's pigs within a year.

The virus' impact slowed by late 2019 as pig numbers fell and large producers learned to minimise its spread by removing infected pigs from herds early, a process the industry calls "tooth extraction."