China In Denial Over Pig Disease
According to China's Ministry of Agriculture the disease in China is closer to the strain found in the United States.
Blue ear disease (Porcine Reproductive and Respiratory Syndrome) has already infected 290,000 pigs in China this year and Vice Minister of Agriculture, Gao Hongbin, says that is an increase from 257,000 last year.
The Minister says the disease came from abroad and there is no evidence to show it spread from China to anywhere else.
Blue ear disease first appeared in the U.S. in the mid-1980s and has since reappeared in most pork-producing nations.
Li Jinxiang, the deputy director general of the ministry's veterinary bureau says China had it's first cases of the blue ear virus in 1996 and analysis of the current disease indicates it is 93 percent the same as the U.S. type.
Li Jinxiang says China is a victim and allegations that the disease spread from China to Vietnam and Myanmar are groundless.
An outbreak that began in China in May last year killed about 1 million pigs in 2006, and an unusual feature was the high fever which affected adult pigs. The strain was subsequently identified as highly pathogenic PRRS, but has not affected humans.
This month Vietnam reported another outbreak of blue ear disease in Khanh Hoa and Ca Mau provinces, after declaring it eradicated the disease in August following an outbreak in the central region which infected 60,000 pigs.
There is growing concern among international epidemiologists about the possible mutations of the disease in southern China, where humans, pigs and chickens live in close proximity in hot, humid weather.
In the face of skepticism on the part of many Western experts Chinese officials continue to deny they have covered up the extent of the pig disease and say there are strict regulations on the reporting of epidemics and their disclosure.
Li Jinxiang says China has been reporting outbreaks of the disease and had provided sequencing data of the virus to the World Organisation for Animal Health and the Food and Agriculture Organisation since the outbreaks last year.
Officials say more than 100 million of the country's 500 million pigs have been inoculated with an effective vaccine, which has been distributed to the regions most seriously affected and the spread of the disease was now under "preliminary control." (News-Medical.Net)
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