Dead pig found on beach tests negative for African swine flu

January 18, 2019 13:59
Food and Environmental Hygiene Department workers disinfected the area after collecting a pig carcass (inset) from a beach in Cheung Chau Island on Thursday. Photo: ISD/RTHK

A pig found lying dead on a Cheung Chau beach has tested negative for swine flu, Hong Kong authorities said on Thursday, helping ease worries among the public about a possible spread of the virus from mainland China.

Laboratory testing on the carcass has shown the animal was not infected with African Swine Fever (ASF), officials said.

At about 10 am Thursday, a Cheung Chau resident found a dead pig with blood stains during a walk on Tung Wan Beach, prompting him to alert the authorities. 

Police arrived at the scene soon afterwards and listed the case as discovery of an animal carcass.

Staff from the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department came over in the afternoon to collect the dead pig and disinfect the area.

The corpse was later handed over to the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department (AFCD), which immediately conducted a test for ASF virus.

The result came back negative, the Hong Kong Economic Journal reports.

The AFCD announced Thursday night that there is no pig farm within a radius of three kilometers of the vicinity where the dead pig was found.

Still, it said it will contact pig farmers to warn them about the need to step up efforts against ASF, given the many cases in China in recent months.

Some people living in Cheung Chau suspected that the pig in question might have washed ashore from the mainland.

ASF poses no threat to humans, but it is highly lethal for pigs, requiring large-scale culling if any herd is suspected to have been exposed to the virus.

Undersecretary for Food and Health Dr Chui Tak-yi confirmed on Friday that the dead pig found on Tung Wan beach was not infected, and that there is no pig farm within a three-kilometer radius, RTHK reported.

China's state media reported on Tuesday that a total of 916,000 pigs had been culled in the mainland since August, covering 24 regions, due to ASF outbreaks.

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