'Unstoppable': African swine fever deaths to eclipse record 2019 toll


'Unstoppable': African swine fever deaths to eclipse record 2019 toll

2 June 2020
With world’s attention on Covid-19, warnings that lack of measures to contain pandemic could lead to culling of record number of pigs.

The African swine fever (ASF) pandemic will be even worse this year than in 2019, say experts, warning that the spread of the highly contagious virus, which is fatal to pigs, is unrelenting.

With world attention on the human viral pandemic of Covid-19, concern is growing that countries are not focusing enough on halting the spread of ASF through better biosecurity practices, cooperation on intensive vaccine development, or transparency regarding outbreaks.

“The ASF virus is a much ‘stronger’ virus [than Covid-19], in that it can survive in the environment or processed meat for weeks and months,” Dirk Pfeiffer, a professor of veterinary sciences at City University in Hong Kong and a leading expert on ASF, told the Guardian.

ASF kills almost 100% of the animals it infects, and despite being in circulation for nearly 100 years, there is still no vaccine.