Blue-eye pig disease remains a severe challenge to China's Yangtze River valley despite that the outbreak has been basically under control on the whole, the Ministry of Agriculture (MOA) warned Saturday in an emergency notice.
Latest MOA figures reveal that 39,455 pigs or 27.5 percent of the diseased in 586 epidemic areas have been dead by July 10.
"With the high-temperature and high-humidity season lasting, it's impossible to rule out the possibility of aggravation in some areas," said the notice.
The ministry urged veterinary departments to be sober-minded, make full estimates of the severity and damages of the highly pathogenic disease and use all possible means to curb its spread.
It predicts that the short supply of vaccines will be eased in August as more will be put to market by 12 enterprises in the end of July.
Vaccine immunization should be centered around boars and sows to protect the reproduction of live pig industry. Geographically, focus should be pointed at the Yangtze River valley and other major epidemic areas.
It said that livestock breeding and vaccine immunization information must be put in file while people without fixed duties should be forbidden from entering breeding farms.
Epidemic areas must be strictly blocked where live pigs or pork products are banned. Quality and quarantine departments must track the origins of pig and pork and forbid the slaughter, eating, selling and transport of pigs that died of the disease.
Local governments are ordered to double-check every outbreak report and brief to the MOA as quickly as possible. Those who cover up or lie on outbreaks will be punished severely in line with law.
Huang Hai, assistant Minister of Commerce, told Xinhua on Saturday that the pork would continue to be expensive in the latter half of the year as supply shortfall can hardly be eased in a short period of time.
Pork wholesale prices polled by the ministry in 36 large and medium-sized cities averaged 18.57 yuan per kilogram on July 11, up nearly 30 percent from the 14.25 yuan on May 11. The average retail price for lean pork has exceeded 22 yuan per kilogram.
As the disease, also known as Porcine Reproductive and Respiratory Syndrome, often causes miscarriage, many farmers feel reluctant to replenish their livestock farms with more sows despite the price hikes.
The total live pigs in stock in May dropped 15 percent to 20 percent year-on-year while the sales of sows declined by 20 percent to 30 percent year-on-year in June, according to a joint survey made by the National Development and Reform Commission, the Ministries of Agriculture and Commerce.
Huang assured the public that the government is capable of securing pork supply. Commerce, agricultural and economic planning departments have been urged to stage an overhaul on local pork reserve to ease the short supply.
(Xinhua News Agency July 15, 2007)