go to top
Workers disinfect a passing vehicle after the latest incident of African swine flu outbreak in Beijing Workers disinfect a passing vehicle after the latest incident of African swine flu outbreak on the outskirts of Beijing, China, Nov. 23, 2018 (AP photo by Ng Han Guan).

Now More Than Ever, New Strategies Are Needed to Protect Animal Health

Monday, Jan. 13, 2020

Imagine this scenario: A viral disease emerges and spreads rapidly across borders. It has a nearly 100-percent fatality rate, with symptoms that include high fever, blotchy skin lesions, coughing, diarrhea, vomiting and hemorrhaging. There is no treatment or preventative vaccine for the disease, so it results in widespread loss of life and a staggering economic toll. The international system struggles to come together to stop it from spreading even further.

This might sound like any of a number of infectious diseases among humans, including SARS, Ebola and H5N1 influenza, also known as bird flu. But it actually describes African swine fever, a malady that does not infect humans but wreaks havoc on pigs. Since African swine fever first emerged in China in August 2018, the country—which produces more than half of the world’s pork—has lost more than 40 percent of its hogs due to the disease or to government culling programs. That amounts to a loss of nearly one-quarter of the world’s pigs. China’s economy as a result has incurred more than $141 billion in direct losses as of September. When including the harm to upstream and downstream industries that rely on pork, like pig feed production and catering, the damage is likely much greater. ...

To read more,

enter your email address then choose one of the three options below.

Subscribe to World Politics Review and you'll receive instant access to 10,000+ articles in the World Politics Review Library, along with new comprehensive analysis every weekday . . . written by leading topic experts.