'No way to stop it': millions of pigs culled across Asia as swine fever spreads
South-east Asia is battling to contain the spread of highly contagious African swine fever, known as “pig Ebola”, which has already led to the culling of millions of pigs in China and Vietnam.
African swine fever, which is harmless to humans but fatal to pigs, was discovered in China in August, where it has caused havoc, leading to more than 1.2m pigs being culled. China is home to almost half of the world’s pigs and the news sent the global price of pork soaring.
There is no vaccination for African swine fever, which causes pigs to internally haemorrhage until they die, so the only option to contain the disease is to kill any contaminated animals. Some estimates say that in China up to 200m animals may eventually be slaughtered. The virus can last for several weeks on anything from clothes to vehicles, allowing for it to easily travel long distances.