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ASF hits Sichuan, wild boar in China

Scott Olson_Getty Images News hogs huddled together at hog farm
Dead wild boar with African swine fever found in northeast China, while virus strikes small farm in pig-dense Sichuan province in southwest China.

China reported two new occurrences of African swine fever (ASF) Nov. 16, according to Reuters and CNN reports, including in a dead wild boar in Jilin province and the first case in the southwest province of Sichuan.

The Jilin finding is the first confirmed case of ASF in wild hogs in China, although many of the ASF cases in Eastern Europe and all of the cases in Belgium have been in wild boars. The case was found in Baishan city, Jilin province, in northeastern China, Reuters reported China's Ministry of Agriculture & Rural Affairs as saying.

The southwest province of Sichuan is one of China's top pig-producing regions. Reuters reported that ASF was discovered on a farm of 40 pigs in Yibin city in southeast Sichuan, making it the 18th province or municipality to report an outbreak of ASF since it was first detected in China in early August.

“With the new case in Sichuan, all major pig production provinces have now fallen. The situation is very severe,” Yao Guiling, an analyst with consultancy China-America Commodity Data Analytics, told Reuters.

Sichuan produced almost 66 million pigs last year -- more than any other province, according to official data.

In response to recent developments in the outbreak, Chinese authorities have announced strict new measures in an attempt to halt the ASF crisis, CNN reported.

In a document jointly issued Wednesday by China's ministries of agriculture, transportation and public security, the government blamed the disease's rapid spread on unhygienic vehicles transporting pigs and profit-driven "lawless elements" moving animals out of high-risk areas, CNN said.

The directive called for stricter nationwide inspections of all livestock transportation vehicles and harsher punishments for the illegal transportation and slaughter of pigs.

In October, China had banned the feeding of kitchen waste, or swill, to pigs after linking the widely used practice to most early cases of the disease. They also announced plans to set up a registration system for vehicles transporting livestock, CNN said.

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