The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs said on Friday that 74 outbreaks of African swine fever have been reported in 47 cities in 20 provincial-level areas, with the latest one confirmed on Friday morning in Beijing"s Fangshan district.
Since 90 percent of Beijing’s pork comes from other areas, the new outbreak will not impact the supply of pork in the city, Feng Zhongwu, head of the ministry"s animal husbandry and veterinary department, told a news conference on Friday.
He said that since the first outbreak occurred in Shenyang, Liaoning province, on Aug 1, China had culled 600,000 pigs to curb the spread of the contagious disease as of Thursday.
African swine fever is a highly contagious, viral disease that infects pigs. It does not affect humans or other animal species.
Quarantine orders have been lifted in 24 areas in seven affected provinces, Feng said, including all quarantined areas in Henan and Jiangsu provinces.
"The epidemic features a dispersive pattern, but we have contained the spread through effective prevention and disease-control measures," he said, adding that the chance of a sudden surge in outbreaks across the nation was slim.
The ministry has banned feeding pigs with kitchen waste since the end of August, and ramped up its supervision of livestock transport.
Research released on Friday showed that 46 percent of outbreaks have been caused by people or vehicles carrying and spreading the disease to pigs, and 23 cases occurred as a result of feeding kitchen leftovers to pigs, Huang Baoxu, deputy director of the China Animal Health and Epidemiology Center, told the news conference.
He added that the virus found in China was likely to have originated in Georgia, Russia or Poland, as analysis of the virus’ genome sequence suggested a 99.95 percent similarity between it and the strains in those three countries.
Investigations to determine the origin of the epidemic are ongoing, he said.