A case of foot-and-mouth disease has been identified in China’s Penghu County. According to the area’s Council of Agriculture, on Oct. 30, five infected pigs were discovered to have blisters in and around the mouth that were symptomatic of FMD, according to the COA’s Bureau of Animal and Plant Health Inspection and Quarantine.

The China Post reports that the pigs had been imported to China from the Taiwan mainland. However, authorities have determined that the herds from which the infected pigs originated are free of FMD. An investigation of cloven-hoofed livestock within a three-kilometer radius of the original farm also tested negative.

According to the COA, the five infected piglets and their three pen-mates were immediately slaughtered. Holding pens, equipment and tools associated with the pigs were disinfected. COA officials contend that the outbreak was “completely contained.”

FMD in China is nothing new, but the government is paying a bit more attention to disease outbreaks and attempting to boost biosecurity issues. FMD and porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome, or what the Chinese often refer to as blue-tongue disease, have cut into the country’s pork supplies dramatically. In fact, with pork being the preferred meat in China, shortages have driven food inflation and overall inflation higher.

That has caused China to import more pork to meet the public’s demand. U.S. pork exports to China this year through August have increased nearly six-fold compared with the same period in 2010, according to USDA. According Joel Haggard, U.S. Meat Export Federation’s senior vice president of the Asia Pacific Region, the largest shipments of U.S. pork to China may actually occur from August through year’s end.    

In recent months, disease outbreaks have resulted in increased hog slaughter as animal health authorities attempt to contain the spread.  

Source: China Post