|A pig breeding household in Hải Dương Province. — VNA/VNS Photo|
LÀO CAI — A drill to prepare for the possible infiltration of African swine fever into Việt Nam was held in northern Lào Cai Province on Wednesday.
According to the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD), the country faced a high risk as the disease has affected several provinces in China, including Yunan province which borders northwestern Việt Nam, since August this year.
At the event, Phùng Đức Tiến, Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, pointed out three main reasons that make the infiltration of the disease into Việt Nam highly possible.
“First is the illegal trading and transportation of pigs and pork products from affected countries and regions into Việt Nam,” he said.
“Trading and tourism activities of people from affected countries, and trading and consumption of pork products, even cooked ones, of people in border areas can also bring the virus into the country. And thirdly, as the demand for pork products increase as Tết (Lunar New Year) holidays approach, the risk of an epidemic is also very high.”
The drill was held with the assumption an outbreak was discovered at a village in Bát Xát District.
A task force with members of different provincial agencies was formed to deal with the situation. Response measures include decontamination of breeding areas, testing, culling and dumping of all affected herds.
After the drill, Tiến asked all localities nationwide to draw up plans and carry out similar drills to prepare. He also asked them to implement an order by Prime Minister Nguyễn Xuân Phúc in September and several directions of the MARD relating to the issue.
Although it doesn’t affect humans or other animals, African swine fever is a highly contagious pig disease. Some versions of the virus can have a 100 per cent mortality rate in certain circumstances. There is no treatment or vaccine against the disease.
According to the World Health Organisation, the virus has affected 19 countries, with about one-third of the pigs that contract it dieing.
As the disease has moved southward in China, the MARD in November issued an emergency action plan to deal with the rising threat of African swine fever entering Việt Nam. Inspection teams were formed in bordering provinces, those having large-scale pig breeding or having a high number of visiting tourists. Closer monitoring is being employed to combat smuggling, selling and gifting of pork and pigs of unclear origin, while processed pork products bought from countries with African swine fever are being examined.
Imports of pork from countries with African swine fever have been suspended, while farms, markets and slaughterhouses are expected to be frequently sterilised.
To combat the disease, Việt Nam plans to spend nearly VNĐ49 billion (US$2.1 million) until the end of 2019 to purchase equipment and carry out inspections, training drills and research. — VNS