African swine fever: towards the creation of a regional standing group of experts for Eastern Asia

Meeting between the Vice Minister of Agriculture and Rural Affairs of the People’s Republic of China and the OIE Director General.

Vice Minister of Agriculture and Rural Affairs of the People’s Republic of China, Dr Yu Kangzhen, and the Director General of the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE), Dr Monique Eloit, reviewed developments in the situation and the prevention and control measures applied since the declaration of the first case of African swine fever in Liaoning province in August 2018.

© Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs of the People’s Republic of China
Dr Yu Kangzhen, Vice Minister of Agriculture and Rural Affairs of the People’s Republic of China shaking hands with Dr Monique Eloit, Director General of the OIE.

Beijing, 4 February 2019 The People’s Republic (P.R.) of China is facing a major crisis for the pig production sector following the occurrence of African swine fever on its territory. Noting that P.R. China is the world’s leading producer of pigs and pork meat, and the Chinese market is virtually self-sufficient in terms of domestic consumption, Dr Eloit emphasised that controlling the spread of the disease to farms and regions that are currently free is of crucial importance to limit the socio-economic and commercial repercussion of the epizootic.

During the meeting, the Director General of the OIE commended the regularity with which the Veterinary Services of P.R. China have been notifying the OIE of information on the identified cases of African swine fever and she made a point of acknowledging the considerable resources being deployed to detect and respond to outbreaks. “Right from the start of the crisis, the services of the Ministry of Agriculture of P.R. China have demonstrated transparency by being more reactive in notifying outbreaks as well as by improving the quality of the provided data. By respecting their international commitments, they are helping to control African swine fever more effectively in China and limit the risks of it spreading to neighbouring countries”, declared Dr Monique Eloit, Director General of the OIE. Vice-Minister Yu summarised all the measures taken by the Chinese Authorities over the past months for a better and stricter control of the disease such as the ban of swill feeding practices, the reinforcement of the control of live animal movements, the registration of vehicles, and other numerous measures to improve the early disease detection as well as the outbreak management. Acknowledging the relevance of the new regulations, Dr Eloit encouraged the services of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs to continue the actions being undertaken, in terms of farm surveillance of domestic pigs and wild boar, and the control of movements of animals and animal products.

Dr Yu Kangzhen and Dr Monique Eloit also discussed conditions relating to the operational implementation of concepts recognised by the OIE Terrestrial Animal Health Code that enable safe management of trade flows, such as compartmentalisation.

Lastly, while acknowledging the urgent need to present a proposal for a global African swine fever control strategy to OIE Member Countries at the earliest opportunity, the two parties examined initiatives that will be developed without delay at regional level. Vice Minister Yu offered his support for the creation of a regional group of “African swine fever” experts under the auspices of the regional GF TADs1, a first inception meeting of which could be held in P.R. China to define the terms of reference and the work programme of the group.

[1]GF TADs: FAO-OIE Global Framework for the Progressive Control of Transboundary Animal Diseases.

For the record: African swine fever (ASF) is a severe viral disease affecting domestic and wild pigs. It is responsible for serious production and economic losses. This transboundary animal disease can be spread by live or dead pigs, domestic or wild, and pork products; transmission can also occur via contaminated feed and fomites, such as shoes, clothes, vehicles, equipment, etc., due to the high environmental resistance of ASF virus. There is no approved vaccine against ASF. The disease is not transmissible to humans.

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