African swine fever has spread rapidly to more than half of China’s provinces despite measures to contain it, the government said, warning that a situation previously described as under control had become “very serious.”
The disease has already caused a spike in pork prices in China since first emerging in August, and fuelled growing fears of a major impact on the world’s largest pig producer.
“The African swine fever prevention and control situation are very serious,” said a joint statement by the ministries of agriculture, transport, and public security that was posted late Wednesday.
“The epidemic has appeared in 17 provinces, spreading to large pig-farming provinces in southern China.”
In early September government-controlled media said African swine fever had been discovered in just five provinces, with the agriculture ministry saying at the time that the virus was “generally under control.”