China on Wednesday formally put into use a new vaccine specially
targeting a highly pathogenic strain of blue-ear pig disease that
has been menacing Chinese pig farmers for months, said the Ministry
of Agriculture (MOA).
The first batch of the new vaccines went off the production
lines of two companies in Zhejiang and Sichuan provinces on Wednesday, according to
an MOA official.
They are to be dispatched to disease-hit regions and major pig
raising areas, said the official.
The vaccines will be offered to pig farmers free of charge, as
the government has already allocated 280 million yuan (US$36.5
million) to fund the inoculations.
Chinese veterinary officials earlier said they were confident
the new treatment would end the outbreak of the deadly pig
China first spotted a more virulent form of the blue-ear pig
disease in the summer of 2006. In January of this year, researchers
concluded that it was caused by a mutated, highly pathogenic
variant of the original virus causing the blue-ear disease --
officially named porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome.
The mutated virus caused higher mortality rates, according to
Jia Youling, the country's chief veterinarian.
China successfully developed a vaccine for the new variant and
approved 12 companies to produce the vaccine in May.
The output of the new vaccine would total 70 million milliliters
in June, 154 million milliliters in July, and 189 million
milliliters in August, according to the production schedule.
The Ministry of Agriculture hopes a mass immunization of pigs
will be completed as early as possible as high summer temperatures
and humidity could help spread the outbreak of blue ear pig
The disease has killed 18,597 pigs and forced another 5,778 pigs
to be culled.
(Xinhua News Agency June 14, 2007)