|Phạm Văn Đông, head of the Department of Animal Health (third from right, first row) and US Ambassador to Việt Nam Daniel Kritenbrink (fourth from right, first row) take a group photo with Vietnamese ASF first responders at the training course. — VNS Photo Khánh Dương
HÀ NỘI — The spread of African swine fever (ASF) continues, causing losses for breeders, said Phạm Văn Đông, head of the Department of Animal Health at the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development.
According to the Animal Health Department, the ASF virus has so far spread to more than 7,700 communes of nearly 650 districts in all 63 provinces and cities of Việt Nam. More than five million pigs have been culled.
“The pathogens have spread rapidly. The virus has existed for a long time in the environment and in pork with diversified methods of transmissions. The management of ASF has faced difficulties due to large numbers of small-scale pig slaughtering and breeding households,” said Đông.
He said the only successful measure so far is to ensure biological safety in breeding. All pigsties must be safe and installed with antiseptic measures and nets to isolate pigs from insects which can spread pathogens.
The Vietnamese Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development and US Department of Agriculture, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service have held an ASF training course for first responders in Hà Nội. The course is expected to end tomorrow.
The course is part of capacity building events conducted by the US to share experience and expertise to help Việt Nam combat the transboundary animal disease.
US Ambassador to Việt Nam Daniel Kritenbrink said the US received a letter in April 2019 from Vietnamese deputy minister of agriculture and rural development, asking the US to provide assistance to Việt Nam.
Responding to the request, the US is providing US$800,000 of laboratory diagnostic equipment to help Việt Nam detect ASF and a number of studies, assessments and seminars.
The ambassador highlighted the importance of collaboration between the two countries as the US regards Việt Nam as “a regional strategic partner” in combating the disease.
“Since August 2018, the ASF virus has spread to 10 other countries in the region. We are confident that Việt Nam can play a critical role in helping us develop a regional approach to respond to ASF,” he said.
Combating ASF is going to be a long-term challenge. The US and VN should continue to look at solutions that the two sides can take together in short, mid and long terms, he said. — VNS