African swine fever: Ripple effect across the world

Source: Down To Earth

What is the News?

The African Swine Fever(ASF) continues to impact livestock in Mizoram, affecting all 11 districts and killing 10,621 pigs since March 2021.

About African Swine Fever:
  • African swine fever(ASF) is a highly contagious hemorrhagic viral disease of domestic and wild pigs which is responsible for serious economic and production losses.
  • Caused by: It is caused by a large DNA virus of the Asfarviridae family, which also infects ticks of the genus Ornithodoros.

Transmission: It is transmitted among pigs through:

  • direct contact with infected domestic or wild swines
  • indirect contact through ingestion of contaminated substances or
  • contaminated material such as food waste, feed, or garbage or through biological vectors such as ticks.
Human Transmission:
  • ASF is not a threat to human beings, since it only spreads from animals to other animals.
  • ASF is a disease listed in the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) Terrestrial Animal Health Code and must be reported to the OIE.


  • The mortality is close to 100% and since the fever has no cure, the only way to stop its spread is by culling the pigs.

Impact of African Swine Fever on Pork Production:

  • Pork accounts for 35-40% of the global meat production. It is also a major source of protein, with an annual consumption of more than 110,000 tonnes.
  • China is the world’s largest producer, consumer, and importer of pork. It is also the largest importer of soybean, which is used as feed.
  • The mass culling of pigs due to African Swine Fever has not only disrupted the domestic as well the global pork trade. But it has also impacted the international market of animal feed.
  • Moreover, the first victims of the African swine fever (ASF) outbreak are the small pig farm owners.
    • In India, over 70% of the pig farms are owned by small-scale farmers. These farms are being closed and people are moving out of the business.
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