Fri, Jan 04, 2019 - Page 1 News List

African swine fever found in pig carcass in Kinmen

PRECAUTIONARY BAN:The import of pork from the outlying county to Taiwan proper is to be suspended for two weeks, Acting Minister Chen Chi-chung said

Staff writer, with CNA

Workers examine a dead pig in Kinmen County on Monday.

Photo: EPA-EFE

Test results conducted on a pig carcass found in outlying Kinmen County earlier this week were positive for African swine fever, the Council of Agriculture confirmed yesterday.

The dead hog was found on Monday on a beach in Kinmen County’s Jinsha Township (金沙) by Coast Guard Administration personnel just kilometers away from China’s southeastern coast, raising concerns that the outbreak of the swine disease in China could spread to Taiwan.

Samples collected from the dead animal were sent to the council’s Animal Health Research Institute for testing, which indicated that the pig was infected with the disease, institute head Chiu Chui-chang (邱垂章) said yesterday.

It was not known whether the dead hog floated to Kinmen from China or if it originated from a local farm, Bureau of Animal and Plant Health Inspection and Quarantine senior official Hsu Jung-bin (徐榮彬) said.

Authorities have begun carrying out inspections at Kinmen’s hog farms for a possible African swine fever infection, Hsu said.

Kinmen has 68 pig farms, with about 11,000 hogs.

None of the 190 pigs at a farm close to where the dead hog was found have shown any signs of infection, the Kinmen County Government said.

As a precaution, from today, imports of pork from Kinmen to Taiwan proper would be suspended for two weeks, council Acting Minister Chen Chi-chung (陳吉仲) said.

Should any of the pigs exhibit symptoms of the disease, such as a loss of appetite or lethargy, authorities would carry out tests, Hsu said.

In the event of a positive result, the hogs would be culled, followed by the cleaning and disinfection of the premises to prevent the disease from spreading, he said.

Since the first confirmed case of the swine disease was reported in China’s Liaoning Province in August last year, Taiwan has been on high alert, worried that the spread of the extremely deadly virus could devastate the nation’s NT$80 billion (US$2.59 billion) pig farming industry.

To prevent the disease from reaching Taiwan, the government has slapped heavy fines on travelers who bring in pork products from areas affected by the disease, with first-time offenders liable to be fined NT$200,000 and repeat offenders up to NT$1 million.

In light of the positive test results, Premier William Lai (賴清德) is to convene an interministerial meeting today to discuss the matter, Executive Yuan spokeswoman Kolas Yotaka said.

Additional reporting by Lee Hsin-fan

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