Cambodian Aok Kim cleans her pigs Thursday near her home outside Phnom Penh. Cambodia is one of several Asian countries where an epidemic of swine flu has decimated pig populations. HANOI, Vietnam — Asian nations are scrambling to contain the spread of highly contagious African swine fever, with Vietnam culling 2.6 million pigs and China reporting more than a million dead in an unprecedentedly huge epidemic some fear is out of control. Smaller outbreaks have been reported in Hong Kong, Taiwan, North Korea, Cambodia and Mongolia after cases were first reported in China’s northeast in August. The U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization released a weekly update on the scale of infections on Thursday which reported a new outbreak in Laos. With pork supplies dwindling as leading producer China and hard-hit Vietnam destroy huge numbers of hogs and tighten controls on shipments, prices have soared by up to 40% globally and caused shortages in other markets. “This is the largest animal disease outbreak in history,” said Dirk Pfieffer, a veterinary epidemiologist at the City University of Hong Kong. “We’ve never had anything like it.” In South Korea, where diets rely heavily on pork, there is concern an outbreak could hurt an… Read full this story
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