China reports first African swine fever outbreak in nearly 3 months

China on Thursday reported an outbreak of African swine fever in the southern province of Guangdong – the country’s first reported cases of the deadly disease in almost three months.

African swine fever ravaged the pig herd in China, the world’s top pork consumer, after the first outbreak in mid-2018, killing millions of hogs. The industry has recovered, however, with the herd growing by 31% year-on-year to 406.5 million heads by the end of 2020.

The Guangdong outbreak occurred on a farm in Pingyuan county with 1,015 pigs, killing 214 of them, the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs said in a statement, adding that illegal transportation was the suspected cause.

The last reported swine fever outbreak in China was on Oct. 26, when authorities seized a vehicle that was illegally taking pigs into Sichuan province from another region.

The last confirmed outbreak on a farm was more than seven months ago, on June 5, in Yunnan province, according to the ministry’s website.

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