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ASF will ‘almost certainly’ spread to other Asian countries
To date, nearly 40,000 infected animals have been culled in China, in an attempt to limit the spread. (Stock photo)
UN calls emergency meeting as disease spreads in China

Experts say it is almost certain that African swine fever (ASF) will spread to other countries in Asia, as outbreaks continue to occur in China.

ASF was first detected in China last month and since then it has been detected in 18 farms and abattoirs in six provinces, sometimes more than 1,000km apart.

The situation poses a major threat to the swine industry, as China produces half the world’s pigs. Its swine population currently numbers 500 million.

In response to the outbreaks, an emergency meeting was convened by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) last week.

FAO’s chief veterinary officer, Juan Lubroth, said: “Unfortunately, what we’re seeing so far is just the tip of the iceberg.

“The geographical spread, of which ASF has been repeated in such a short period of time, means that transboundary emergence of the virus, likely through movements of products containing infected pork, will almost certainly occur.

“So it’s no longer ‘if’ that will happen but when, and what we can do collaboratively to prevent and minimise the damage.”
 
China and FAO have been working together for several years to develop plans and protocols, should ASF be detected in the country. To date, nearly 40,000 infected animals have been culled in an attempt to limit the spread.

The emergency meeting gathered veterinary authorities and other stakeholders from 12 countries.

FAO’s assistant director-general, Kundhavi Kadiresan, said: “This cross-border, regional collaboration is vital in responding to this very real threat to Asia’s swine sector, because this isn’t something that Ministries or Departments of Agriculture can handle on their own.”

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ZSL London Zoo shares animal X-rays

News Story 1
 A selection of X-ray images showing the inner workings of frogs, turtles, snakes and geckos have been shared by veterinary surgeons at ZSL London Zoo.

Taken as part of a routine health check, the images have been shared as part of ‘Vets in Action’ week - a hand’s on role-playing experience for children that explores the life of a zoo vet.

ZSL London Zoo veterinary nurse Heather Mackintosh said: “It’s great to be able to share the work that goes on behind the scenes at the Zoo to keep our residents in tip-top condition – and our visitors are always amazed to find out more about their favourite animals.” 

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Vets in developing nations given free access to BSAVA’s online library

BSAVA has teamed up with the WSAVA, the WSAVA Foundation and FECAVA to offer vets in developing nations free access to its online library.

The Association’s ‘Foundation Collection’ is comprised of more than 70 hours of articles, lectures and book chapters covering topics such as basic handling skills, working on a budget and emergency triage. Some of the countries set to benefit include Albania, Georgia, Sri Lanka, Kenya, Nigeria, Uganda and Tanzania.

Nicolette Hayward, of BSAVA International Affairs Committee said: “Our mission is to promote excellence in small animal practice through education and science, so we are delighted to work with WSAVA, the WSAVA Foundation and FECAVA to share these high-quality resources to the veterinary profession in low and middle-income countries.”