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Fears of new swine flu outbreak sees farm set to slaughter 3,000 ‘infected’ pigs
February 10, 2021
A city is set to cull 3,000 pigs after detecting an outbreak of African swine flu at a local farm.
The pigs will be slaughtered in a bid to prevent spreading of the new flu in Hong Kong, China.
After initially detecting the virus last week at a facility in Yuen Long, the transportation of the animals was suspended.
Hong Kong’s Agriculture, Fisheries & Conservation Department announced the pigs will be slaughtered "as soon as possible."
Owners of the pigs will also received compensation, the department revealed on Tuesday.
The first African swine fever outbreak was reported in 2018 in mainland China where Honk Kong sources its pigs from.
Since the outbreak, pork output has been largely affected as the country's hog herd has been cut in half.
Imports and prices of pork have also surged, reports The Strait Times.
Last summer, scientists warned swine flu could soon reach pandemic levels as genetic testing of Chinese pigs show early signs of strains emerging.
Farms in China have shown genes "similar to swine flu ‘09 virus," present in livestock throughout the county.
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The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences said the virus has "all the essential hallmarks of a candidate pandemic virus," which could emerge at the same time as a second coronavirus wave.
Theresa MacPhail, a medical anthropologist and Assistant Professor at Stevens Institute of Technology, told VICE the Chinese government regularly checks chicken farms and pigs to see "if there are any potential problems.
Ms McPhail told VICE: "So what we're seeing a little bit is what public health is constantly doing.
"In China, government officials regularly sample birds on duck and chicken farms and pigs on pig farms and all the workers who work there for this reason: to see what strains are in circulation to see if there are any potential problems."