Wed, Nov 28, 2018 - Page 14 News List

What is African swine fever and how does it spread?
什麼是非洲豬瘟?它如何傳染?

In this photo taken on Aug. 31, pigs are seen in a hog pen in a village in Linquan county in central China’s Anhui province.
豬圈中的豬。八月三十一日攝於中國中部安徽省臨泉縣一村莊。

Photo: AP
照片:美聯社

What is African swine fever?

African swine fever (ASF) is a highly contagious viral pig disease. The most common symptoms of the virus in its acute form are a high temperature and loss of appetite; other symptoms include vomiting, diarrhea, and difficulty with breathing and standing. There is no treatment for the disease, some versions can have a 100 percent mortality rate in certain circumstances. It is not the same as swine flu.

How does it spread?

ASF can be transmitted through direct contact with infected animals. Wild boar have been identified by some national governments as one of several possible culprits for the recent spread. It can also spread via insects such as ticks.

But the virus can also survive several months in processed meat, and several years in frozen carcasses, so meat products are a particular concern for cross-border transmission. It is believed that the disease was initially brought from east Africa to Georgia by contaminated pig products. Last month, a packet of sausages confiscated at a Japanese airport from a traveler arriving from China were found to contain the virus. Similar discoveries have been made in South Korea, according to reports.

What happens when it is found?

Cases must be reported to the authorities. In most countries, this will trigger quarantine measures and a cull of the affected herd. However, there is anxiety among experts that in some cases farmers — or even whole countries — may cover up or delay reporting the illness. In May, for example, Belarus was accused of covering up ASF among its pigs. The Belarus government denied the claims.

Can it be caught by humans?

Humans cannot contract ASF. However the head of the Russian epidemiology service, chief state sanitary doctor Gennady Onishchenko, has warned that pig physiology is close to human physiology, and that future mutations of the virus may therefore become dangerous to human beings too.

TOday’s Words
今日單字

1. swine n. 豬 (zhu1)

2. contagious adj.

接觸傳染性的

(jie1 chu4 chuan2 ran3 xing4 de5)

3. boar n.

野豬 (ye3 zhu1)

4. processed meat phr.

加工肉品

(jia1 gong1 rou4 pin3)

5. quarantine n.

隔離;檢疫

(ge2 li2; jian3 yi4)

6. outbreak n.

爆發

(bao4 fa1)


Why are people worrying about it now?

For many years ASF was found mainly in Africa, although there was an outbreak in Europe in the 1950s which took several decades to eradicate. In 2007, however, the virus was detected in Georgia, and despite co-ordinated efforts it has since spread widely, initially through eastern Europe and Russia, and more recently into western Europe, when wild boar in Belgium were found to have the disease. The virus has now jumped to China, home to half the world’s domestic pigs, and appears to be proliferating rapidly. According to one report there have been 41 outbreaks since the first notification in early August.

Are there any vaccines or cures on the horizon?

The Roslin Institute is looking at gene editing to make pigs resistant to ASF. An international coalition of scientists is urgently investigating vaccines.

(The Guardian)

什麼是非洲豬瘟?

非洲豬瘟(ASF)是由病毒引起的一種高度傳染性的豬隻疫病。最常見的急性症狀是發高熱和食慾不振,其他症狀包括嘔吐、腹瀉、呼吸困難和無法站立。此病無藥可醫,有些疾病變體在某些情況下可能有百分之百的死亡率。非洲豬瘟與豬流感並不相同。

非洲豬瘟是如何傳播的?

非洲豬瘟可透過與受感染動物的直接接觸傳播,有些國家的政府已檢驗出野豬可能是最近疫情蔓延的罪魁禍首之一,它也可透過壁蝨等昆蟲傳播。

但是,這種病毒在加工肉品中可存活數個月,在冷凍的畜體中更可存活數年,因此病毒的跨境傳播,肉類產品是尤需注意的問題。據信非洲豬瘟最初是隨著受感染的豬肉產品,由東非帶到喬治亞的。上個月,一名旅客由中國抵達日本機場後被沒收的香腸,就被發現含有這種病毒。據報導,韓國也發現有類似情況。

若發現疫情,該怎麼做?

必須向有關當局報告。多數國家會啟動檢疫隔離措施,並撲殺受感染的畜群。然而專家卻擔心,有時養豬戶──甚至整個國家──可能會隱瞞疫情或延遲通報。例如在五月時,白俄羅斯被指控隱瞞其境內豬隻感染非洲豬瘟的疫情。白俄羅斯政府對此說法加以否認。

人類會被感染嗎?

人類並不會感染非洲豬瘟。然而,俄羅斯國家防疫總醫師甘納迪‧歐尼希成柯警告,豬和人類在生理學上很相近,因此病毒未來的突變也可能會對人類構成危險。

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