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African swine fever spreads to VN-Cambodia border

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A herd of pigs at a farm in Kampong Chhnang province. Heng Chivoan

African swine fever spreads to VN-Cambodia border

African swine fever has spread to parts of Vietnam that border Cambodia’s Ratanakkiri and Kratie provinces, a Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries official said on Friday.

Tan Phannara, the General Directorate of Animal Health and Production director-general, told a Phnom Penh workshop that he had received informal information from animal feed companies and animal raising associations that outbreaks of African swine fever in Vietnam were getting closer to Cambodia.

He called on Ratanakkiri and Kratie department officials to remain alert in monitoring for outbreaks.

“I have received information that [Vietnamese] provinces that border Ratanakkiri and Kratie are reporting cases of African swine fever, and so I urge all officials to be vigilant,” he said.

In February, Vietnam became the third Asian country after China and Mongolia to report outbreaks of African swine fever.

The disease has hit Vietnam’s $10 billion pork industry and is seriously threatening future pig exports, Vietnamese online newspaper VN Express said on Friday.

Seventeen Vietnamese provinces have reported outbreaks, with Taiwan, Dubai, the US and the UK banning pork imports from Vietnam, with violators facing heavy fines and even imprisonment.

African swine fever does not harm humans but is deadly to pigs and there is no vaccine or cure. China slaughtered almost 700 million pigs in 2017 due to an outbreak of the virus.

Ratanakkiri deputy governor Nhem Sam Oeun said he was unaware of any information regarding outbreaks of African swine fever in parts of Vietnam that border his province. He claimed Ratanakkiri does not import pork from Vietnam.

“Most [Vietnamese pork imports] come through Kampong Cham province. We have informed traders not to import [Vietnamese pork] into our province,” he said.

Phannara added that there had been many cases of illegal Vietnamese pork imports, but the General Directorate of Animal Health and Production was working closely with provincial authorities to crack down on them, with no cases of African swine fever yet found in Cambodia.

Ministry of Health spokesman Ly Sovann could not be reached for comment.

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