According to the World Organization of Animal Health, the disease has spread to more than 50 countries. As many as half of China’s pigs, an estimated 300 million, have died of the virus or been exterminated since the disease took hold 13 months ago. In the past months it has advanced to Vietnam, Laos and South Korea. At the beginning of September, the Philippines confirmed African swine fever in at least seven villages near Manila, requiring 7,000 pigs to be euthanized. And at the end of September, East Timor reported more than 100 cases to the World Organization for Animal Health.
With these developments, the American pork industry has begun mobilizing. Experts say the risk of a domestic outbreak of African swine fever is increasing.
“It’s a higher probability, that’s for sure,” Pyburn said. “What are the odds? I don’t have a precise number I can give. But take a look at what this virus is doing around the globe today. And then look at the way goods and people travel. This would have a devastating effect on our industry. It’s the nastiest disease we have on the planet.”