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Online Discussion: Tracking new emerging diseases and the next pandemic

1/4 of world's pigs, dead African swine flu

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    Posted: November 05 2019 at 1:18pm

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A quarter of all pigs have died this year due to African swine fever
DAILY-NEWS 5 November 2019
By Debora MacKenzie

A dead pig is put into a quarantined pit in Hanoi to stop the spread of African Swine Fever
A dead pig is put into a quarantined pit in Hanoi to stop the spread of African Swine Fever
MANAN VATSYAYANA/AFP via Getty Images
A quarter of the world’s domestic pigs have died this year as a virus rampages across Eurasia, and that may be just the start. Half the pigs in China – which last year numbered 440 million, some 50 per cent of the world’s pigs – have either died of African swine fever (ASF) or been killed to stamp out the virus.

ASF comes from East Africa. In 2007, it reached Georgia in the Caucasus in contaminated meat, and in infected wild boar. Now, it is all over Russia and eastern Europe and infected wild boar have turned up as far west as Belgium. It is also spreading in east Asia, killing many pigs in Vietnam and elsewhere.

Read more: Human versus pig: Can we outwit the hog hordes?
ASF was spotted in China in August 2018. It is now in every province. The virus may have spread there from North Korea.

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The only way to get rid of ASF is to kill infected herds. But while pigs on farms can be destroyed and replaced, the disease persists in wild boar and feral hogs, as well as in meat, which is increasingly sold abroad. “I predict ASF virus will remain endemic for some time in east Asia and eastern Europe, with constant introductions around the world,” says Dirk Pfeiffer of City University in Hong Kong. “Currently nobody on this planet has the solution to the problem.”

Read more: The porker paradox: A very human dilemma
Despite years of warnings from virologists, there is no vaccine. Most vaccines against viruses stimulate the body to make antibodies against viral structural proteins, such as those in the virus coating. These then stop the virus from entering cells, for example. But ASF, says Linda Dixon of The Pirbright Institute in Surrey, UK, is a large, complex virus, with two coatings and several ways of entering cells. Antibodies to various bits of it have never been enough to stop it.

We will now be able to look for better antibody targets, says Dixon, as scientists in China and Spain published the first detailed images of the virus last month (Journal of Biological Chemistry, doi.org/ddqz).

Experimental vaccines made of live, weakened ASF have worked better, says Dixon. These prompt specialised blood cells to recognise a range of viral proteins, but there are several hurdles to developing such vaccines for use. Meanwhile, she fears, ASF “could go global”.

Read more: 30 years ago, Haitians had to look on in horror as their pigs were slaughtered
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote CRS, DrPH Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: November 06 2019 at 9:43pm
Amazing....Chinese Death Star will bring us all down with it.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote carbon20 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: November 07 2019 at 3:28pm
I know you Doc,and Techno,say this cant jump spieces,i hope your correct,

However this Pig Pandemic is a big reminder why we must be vigilant......

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Technophobe Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: November 07 2019 at 3:37pm
I don't think it has to jump species to be bad news. The number of pig deaths is staggering. The pork industry is probably holding its collective breath and saying: "Hail Mary"s repeatedly.

It may not threaten us virally, but it is going to cause big economic problems and bacon may get quite rare and pricey.

I have a bit of a problem with eating pork in general so no loss to me, but this is a slowly-unfolding disaster to some.
Absence of proof is not proof of absence.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Technophobe Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: November 07 2019 at 3:39pm
Ps. It says a lot about Chinese farming methods too. So, whereas it is not a direct threat NOW, what about the next pig virus. Chuck has it about right there.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Technophobe Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: November 07 2019 at 4:03pm
There is a sliver of good news.

Asfivirus (the genus of species to which ASF belongs - and its the only one) are practicioners of multigene familiy replication. This slows down antigenic drift. So the species tends to remain unchanged over great periods of time. This slow evolution might be the reason it only affects the family of pigs. It also more than doubly reduces the possiblility of hopping species - and buys time to find vaccines and treatments.

I won't say it's impossible (Strange things happen in the world of genetics and we even have some DNA in common with broad beans!) but of all the billions of viruses primed to jump into humans, ASF is very close to the bottom of the list.

https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/medicine-and-dentistry/asfarviridae

https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/medicine-and-dentistry/multigene-family
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote EdwinSm, Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: November 07 2019 at 10:21pm
You can cure bacon, but now we need to find something to cure the pigs.

[Sorry, I am in a silly mood this morning, maybe something to do with the world were I am being white with snow]
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote carbon20 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: November 08 2019 at 1:09am
LMAO.....

We hitting 40c tomorrow.....

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Technophobe Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: November 08 2019 at 2:34am
I am seriously jealous, Carbon. A smattering of snow fell here -AND IT'S ONLY NOVEMBER! Snow does not fall here until january usually.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote carbon20 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: November 08 2019 at 1:09pm
40c is nothing to be jealous about, we had our winter clothing on last week it was 15c,

These massive swings in temperature are not normal ,we do have odd weather in our spring (now) but not like this

Plus major fires in the NSW,Queensland part of the country......
All while Africa floods......
The only news you get is either about Chump or Brexit.neither of which matter in the long run
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote carbon20 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: November 08 2019 at 2:01pm
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Technophobe Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: November 08 2019 at 3:27pm
Yep. Our climate is up the creek and we do not have a paddle.

Worse!!! Now we will have to argue (AGAIN!) with the ill educated twerps who think this is a symptom of global cooling.

I already feel like a stuck record.... uck recor....uck recor....uck recor ....uck recor.....I seem to be losing my voice.    
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote carbon20 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: November 09 2019 at 8:36pm
39.5c yesterday,19c today...20c difference........
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote EdwinSm, Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: November 09 2019 at 10:39pm
Meat prices continue to rise, according to the FAO's öatest (October 2019) report



Quote The FAO Meat Price Index* averaged 182.7 points in October, up 0.9 percent (1.7 points) from September, representing the ninth consecutive monthly increase. International price quotations for bovine and ovine meats continued to rise, with buoyant import demand, especially from China, providing support. Quotations for pig meat also increased, albeit moderately, reflecting continued import demand in Asia despite seasonally increasing supplies from Europe and higher export availabilities in Brazil. Prices of poultry meat fell under downward pressure due to increased export availabilities in main producing regions.

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