New Variant of African Swine Fever Emerges in Mainland China With High Transmission Capacity

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According to a recent study by the Chinese Communist Party’s Academy of Agricultural Sciences, an epidemic strain of low lethality African swine fever genotype II natural variant with high transmission capacity and increased difficulty in early diagnosis has emerged in some mainland provinces and regions.

The National Specialized Laboratory of African Swine Fever, Harbin Institute of Veterinary Medicine, Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences, published a study on African swine fever in the online version of the journal Chinese Science Life Sciences on Feb. 26.

The Institute conducted active surveillance and epidemiological investigations, collected, tested and analyzed 3,522 pathogenic samples from Heilongjiang, Jilin, Liaoning, Inner Mongolia and Shaanxi from June to December last year in response to the African swine fever outbreak, and identified and tested 138 suspected infected samples sent from some provinces and cities.

The study said that the genome sequences of the 2020 isolates were all altered to varying degrees, including nucleotide mutations, deletions, insertions or short fragment substitutions, compared to HLJ/18, the earliest isolate identified in 2018.

It was found that at least four or more natural variants of the low lethality gene type II existed. Although the pathogenicity was reduced compared to typical strong strains, it showed significant residual virulence and had a strong horizontal transmission capacity.

Researchers said that these mutant strains have a certain insidious clinical manifestation, making early diagnosis more difficult, and that counter strategies should be developed and adopted as soon as possible.

In January this year, a new type of African swine fever was discovered on the mainland. In the evening of January 21, Meizhou City, Guangdong Province, issued an emergency notification of a new wave of African swine fever.

According to reports, the new strain of the virus can remain on pork for several months and is likely to infect farmed pigs that feed on food waste through pork, threatening to significantly reduce pork production on the mainland and increasing the risk of further spread worldwide.

The African swine fever epidemic has not stopped since it occurred in the mainland in August 2018.

Source: Epoch Times

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