Largest Animal Disease Outbreak in History

Some are calling the African Swine Fever outbreak, which has spread to China, the largest animal disease outbreak in history.

The disease that is ravaging pig farms in China and other Asian countries has a similar effect on pigs as Ebola has on humans, it causes massive internal bleeding with a very high death rate.

China has more than 440 million pigs, half of the world’s total population. Over one million pigs have already been culled in China to stop the disease from spreading and experts estimate up to 200 million pigs will have to be killed this year alone.

One of the problems of preventing the disease from spreading is that it is dormant for up to two weeks and only a tiny amount of the virus can cause the infection.

African Swine Fever does not affect humans, but it will likely have a devastating effect on food security in Asia.

The disease has been spreading slowly since the 1970s; most recently in Asia, where it has become an epidemic.



Photo: “fot. Andrew Skowron” by Otwarte Klatki is licensed under CC BY 2.0