July 26 -- China, the
world's largest pork consumer, said a new vaccine for pigs against so-called
Blue Ear Disease is effective, and may curb the rate of new infections among
herds from next month.
works inside a pork processing factory in Dingxi of northwest China's Gansu
province July 26, 2007. [Reuters]
Some farmers had used an older vaccine against new strains, Li Jinxiang,
deputy director of the veterinary bureau at the Ministry of Agriculture, said
yesterday. Officials were "fairly optimistic" about resisting the spread of the
disease, he said.
Porcine Respiratory and Reproductive Syndrome, as the disease is also known,
has contributed to a hog shortage, driving up local pork prices and helping push
China's inflation rate to the highest in almost three years. The nation's
central bank said June 5 it is "closely" watching rising food prices.
"The vaccine works, the infection rate of the disease should slow down in
August," Li said at a press conference, answering a question about whether the
vaccine works. "We are fairly optimistic about controlling the Blue Ear
As of July 22, there had been 651 outbreaks in 25 provinces so far this year,
Li said. The disease affected 165,144 pigs, killing 45,546 and causing the
culling of 42,728. In the first 22 days of July, there were outbreaks in 11
provinces, he said.
Still, the newly developed vaccine has not always been effective, analysts
including Guo Huiyong at Beijing Orient Agribusiness Consultants Ltd. said.
The new vaccine was developed in a short time, and the results were mixed as
the disease has several variants, Guo said yesterday. If the vaccine was
improperly applied it could speed up the death of the animals with the virus, he
Wholesale pork prices in China have surged 47 percent in the past three
months to 19.33 yuan ($2.56) a kilogram on July 20, according to Ministry of
Commerce data. Inflation was 4.4 percent in June, the fastest pace since
Animal diseases, rising grain prices and low pork prices last year have
caused China's pig output to "markedly decline" for the first time in 20 years,
Cao Changqing, director of pricing at the National Development and Reform
Commission, said yesterday. The commission is the nation's top economic planning