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Photographer's Note

This popular picture has been taken in Yuanyang meat market of Yunnan—a province that shares the “fragile” border with Lao Cai province of Vietnam. This is second day of the set of postings regarding the current epidemic that had spread to the major pig farming area in many provinces of Vietnam.

According to
CGIAR, “pork is an extremely important source of protein in Asia, especially China and Vietnam. Most of it comes from backyard pig producers. However, pig nutrition on small farms is generally poor and the animals suffer serious deficiencies in protein, especially lysine and methyanine.”



The smuggling of pork and live pigs from China is a strong illegal activity across the border, and the issue of “blue ear disease” is not new. In April 2005, Radio Australia announced the following:

“Vietnam has ordered a crackdown on the smuggling of pork and live pigs from China to prevent the spread of a mystery disease that has killed 37 people.

Government agencies have been asked to ensure northern provinces bordering China carry out the order. The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development says if live pigs and pork products are detected being smuggled from China into the localities, they must immediately be destroyed.

The mysterious pig-borne epidemic, reportedly caused by the streptococcus suis bacteria, has so far affected 188 villages in Sichuan province in southwestern China. The number of people infected by the disease has increased to 205.”


On July 24, 2007, Vietnam called for rapid action against pig diseases:

Vietnam must speed investigations into a pig disease that has struck 42 people killing two, the agriculture minister said, calling for urgent measures to contain the bacteria. Initial assessments showed the disease caused by Streptococcus suis bacteria had spread in the country.

The bacteria emerged only recently in the country of 85 million people, infecting 22 people in the northern provinces followed by 20 in the southern region.

People catch the bacteria after coming into direct contact either by hand or eating pork from a sick pig, Nguyen Hong Ha deputy head of the National Institute for Infectious and Tropical Diseases, said in a Voice of Vietnam radio broadcast.

The bacteria causes rapid internal haemorrhage and high fever and can develop meningitis, septicaemia and endocarditis in the next stage leading to death or deafness if the victim survives.

Eating pig blood pudding—a popular dish to go with rice wine in rural Vietnam areas—is extremely dangerous due to high density of the bacteria in blood, Ha said.

"For the sake of the community and our future we should not try to sell the sick pig, it must be destroyed," he said.

On Monday, Minister Phat said the PRRS, also known as 'blue ear disease', had been spreading fast in the central provinces of Quang Nam, Quang Ngai and Danang city partly because officials were unable to stop trading and transport of pigs.
(Source)

On the next day, AP dispatched this news:

“In China, nearly 90,000 pigs have died or been slaughtered because of blue ear disease, a Ministry of Agriculture official said Wednesday, part of the cause of a spike in pork prices.

The epidemic has now spread to 25 provinces or regions, said Li Jinxiang, a veterinarian with the ministry. China has 23 provinces, five autonomous regions and four self-governed municipalities.

Li told a news conference that by the start of this week, 165,144 pigs had contracted the disease. So 45,546 had died and another 42,728 had been slaughtered.”
(Source)

In the meantime, Reuters added:

”Two people have died in northern Vietnam from a pig disease while another virus has been killing thousands of pigs in recent weeks in the central region, government and media reports said on Monday.

Twenty two people, most from northern areas, have been taken to a Hanoi hospital so far this year after they fell sick from the Streptococcus suis bacteria. Two of the infected had died.

People infected by the bacteria suffer from rapid internal haemorrhage and high fever after they eat pork from a sick pig or inhale the air near the sick swine. Another pig disease, the Porcine Reproductive and Respiratory Syndrome (PRRS) virus, also known as Lelystad virus, had struck more than 16,000 pigs in the central province of Quang Nam since June 25.

The syndrome was first recognized in the United States in the mid 1980s and was called "mystery swine disease". In some other countries including Vietnam it is referred to as 'blue ear disease'. Since late June the virus has spread to neighboring Quang Ngai province and Danang city, infecting more than 27,000 pigs, nearly 1,500 of them had died, the Animal Health Department said.

On Sunday state-run Vietnam Television said pig raisers in Quang Nam province had thrown hundreds of dead pigs into a local river, causing serious water pollution near the UNESCO-recognized tourist town of Hoi An.”

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Additional Photos by Ngy Thanh (ngythanh) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 471 W: 125 N: 2332] (8458)
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