A pig carcass found in New Taipei City on Sunday has been confirmed to be infected with African swine fever (ASF), the Council of Agriculture said on Tuesday.
It is the first case of a pig being confirmed with the disease on Taiwan proper, although nearby pig farms have been cleared of the disease, the council said.
Coast guard officials found the carcass near Guihou Harbor (龜吼漁港) in Wanli District (萬里) early on Sunday, and test results the next day showed that it had been infected with African swine fever, Council of Agriculture Minister Chen Chi-chung (陳吉仲) told a news conference in Taipei.
Photo courtesy of the Bureau of Animal and Plant Health Inspection and Quarantine via CNA
To determine where the carcass might have come from, the council and New Taipei City Government officials on Monday inspected 11 pig farms within a 10km radius of where the carcass was found, Chen said.
Five of the farms are in Wanli and six in Jinshan District (金山), with a combined stock of 2,719 pigs, he said.
All of the animals appeared healthy, so the authorities chose 15 from each farm at random for African swine fever testing.
The results all came back negative, ruling out the possibility that the carcass was disposed of by a nearby farm, the Central Emergency Operation Center for African swine fever said in a statement.
It is possible that the carcass drifted from another country and was washed ashore, but the center would still conduct more tests on pig farms in Taoyuan and New Taipei City this week to gain a better understanding of the situation, the center said.
Genome sequencing of the virus found in the carcass showed a partial match for two different strains, both of which were previously recorded in China, it said.
Since 2018, 15 pig carcasses infected with African swine fever have been found along Taiwan’s shores. Twelve of them were found in outlying Kinmen County and two on the Matsu Islands, council data show.
Although African swine fever does not affect humans, the virus is deadly to pigs, and there is no known cure or vaccine.
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