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African swine fever closes in on Southeast Asia

Thailand, Vietnam and neighboring countries scramble to prevent contagion

BANGKOK -- An African swine fever outbreak that began in China is heading toward Southeast Asia, alarming both authorities and pig farmers.

Since August, when it was first detected in the northeastern province of Liaoning, near North Korea, the highly virulent pathogen has spread to 21 Chinese provinces. There have been over 75 outbreaks, including three near Beijing, and more than 600,000 hogs have been culled. The number is a tiny percentage of China’s more than 700 million pigs, which make up about 55% of the global population, according to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization.

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