According to several Chinese media outlets, Xue Liang, the spokesman for China’s Ministry of Agriculture told reporters that as of August 22, outbreak of the highly pathogenic blue-ear pig disease had spread through 26 provinces, infecting 257,000 pigs. 68,000 pigs have died of the disease and 175,000 of animals thought to be carriers were caught and killed. The epidemic is worse in regions along China’s Yangtze River.
Xue claimed that despite the epidemic, China pays much attention to the prevention and control of the blue-ear pig disease. At the beginning of May of this year, the Ministry of Agriculture worked with 12 companies to quickly produce vaccines in an urgent campaign to stop the spread of blue-ear. Officials report that the epidemic is currently under control nationwide.
But specialists say that no effective vaccines have yet been discovered for blue-ear. In fact, some experts suspect that the disease currently seen throughout China is not blue-ear at all. Professor Steven McOrist from the Department of Veterinary at the University of Nottingham in England explains that while the blue-ear virus can make animals sick, the disease doesn’t normally cause death.
The World Organization for Animal Health in Paris claimed that China refused to provide their labs’ tissue samples from the sick pigs, and they believe that the CCP’s behaving in the manner is irresponsible. The organization fears that the disease could spread to other countries, harming farmers everywhere, or worse.
While the head of the Center for Animal Disease Prevention in China, Zhang Zhongqiu, said the highly pathogenic blue-ear pig disease won’t harm people like SARS did, not everyone is convinced.
It is not known at this time whether the blue-ear virus can spread to humans.