African swine fever that hit China's pork industry and killed millions of pigs poses a threat of an epidemic on a global scale. Governments across the world have taken precautionary measures to save their pork industry. According to reports, the African swine fever has spread to Eastern Europe and Southeast Asia. Cases of the diseases have been reported from countries such as Belgium, Korea, Laos, Bulgaria, Myanmar, Cambodia, Poland, Vietnam and the Philippines. In order to contain the disease, countries have imposed strict rules on travellers, have increased screenings of different cargos and have banned meat imports.
According to reports, countries producing pork could be staring at a loss worth billions of dollars if the disease affects their pigs because an outbreak could affect poultry farms and ultimately shut down export markets. Although the African swine fever does not pose a threat to human beings currently there is no vaccine to help the infected pigs.
According to reports, in a four-day drill that was conducted in the month of September, the US department of agriculture (USDA) conducted a simulation of the African swine fever outbreak. In the simulation, the outbreak took place in the state of Mississipi that eventually spread to the top pork-producing states such as Minnesota, Iowa and North Carolina. Farmers, Veterinary doctors and government officials were asked to gather at a command centre where their capacity to immediately find out, contain and clean up after an outbreak was tested.
The simulation drill showcased that the United States needs to ramp up its precautionary measures in order to save the country's $23 billion pork industry from a disease that has killed millions of pigs in China. The US government has started to field specially trained dogs at airports and seaports by conducting outbreak-response drills.
France and Germany have also taken precautionary measures by killing wild boars that may be potential carriers of the African swine fever. According to reports, France has built an 82 miles radius to keep out wild boars and is planning to impose stricter rules on pig farming.
China has been the world's top consumer of pork on a global scale. According to reports, the exact number of pig deaths is still not known but it is known the country has lost millions in the outbreak of the disease, leading to soaring pork prices and forcing purchases of costly imports. Reports suggest China lost almost 55% of its pig population in 2019. However, the government reported losses on a much smaller scale.