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The latest research shows that the new variants of African swine fever detected and reported in China in February 2021 are milder but highly infectious.

An Outbreak News Today reports that Chinese researchers at the Harbin Veterinary Research Institute in Heilongjiang were published the Science Life Sciences.

A statement made by the institute and is computer-translated specifies that last year, the National African Swine Fever Specialty Laboratory of Harbin Institute of Veterinary Medicine of Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences discovered that African swine fever genotype II that has a low fatality rate occurred in some provinces and regions of China during the epidemiological investigation and etiology study of the disease.

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Science Times - African Swine Fever in China: New Variants Detected are Milder but Highly Infectious
(Photo: China Photos/Getty Images)
New strains of African Swine Fever that ravaged the pig herd of china in 2018 and 2019 are milder but more contagious, later study finds.

Over 20 Genotypes Detected Globally

Presently, more than 20 types of African swine fever virus have been detected globally. Of all these detections, genotype II is found to be the most prevalent in Asia.

At present, there is no effective treatment or commercial vaccine available against African swine fever. However, early diagnosis and discarding of infected pigs are the major schemes in control and prevention.

Consequently, conducting an epidemiological investigation and study on the genome variation, biological phenotype, and pathogenicity of epidemic variants is of key guiding essentiality in preventing and controlling the disease.

This said report also indicates that the National African Swine Fever Professional Laboratory isolated and identified in 2018 China's first case of the African swine fever virus HLJ/18.

Coupled with Other Lethal Pig Diseases

Last week, Blomberg reported that new outbreaks of African swine fever, with other lethal pig diseases like foot-and-mouth disease and porcine epidemic diarrhea, had ignited doubts over the recovery of hog herds of China.

This same report also said, the top pork consumer saw the numbers of pigs dropped by roughly half, and there was a shoot-up in the cost of meat after the swine fever's initial discovery in China in 2018.

These new mutant variants, a Harbin paper mentions, will make it more difficult to keep a lid on outbreaks as they will be hard to identify. At the same time, the various is continuously shed through oral and rectal routes.

In 2019, South China Morning Post reported, as seen on its YouTube video below, how China's fatal African swine fever in China spreading across Asia.

Earlier Occurrence

The Western Cape region of South Africa also reported last month. Its first occurrence of the African swine fever at two small farms, following outbreaks in other parts of the country, announced the provincial head of agriculture.

Reuters reports, according to the agricultural authorities, recent outbreaks were also detected and reported in the Eastern Cape, Free State, and Gauteng provinces.

Agriculture minister of the Western Cape, Ivan Meyer said in a statement, a survey to identify the extent of the spread of the disease in Mfuleni and the immediate surrounding area had already started.

Meyer added the initiative would also include a collection of blood samples from selected infected pigs from suspect farms.

As earlier mentioned, China, the biggest pork producer in the world, reported late last month of the first case of African swine fever. And now, new strains of the infection that ravaged the pig herd of china in 2018 and 2019 are found to be milder but are more contagious, later study finds.

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