By Tenzin Dharpo
DHARAMSHALA, Apr. 8: The first ever African swine fever case has been reported in the so called Tibetan Autonomous Region (TAR) in occupied Tibet.
China’s Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs confirmed the outbreak on Sunday, saying that the disease was found in two counties and one district in TAR including the city of Linzhi, near the border with India.
The ministry also added that 55 pigs have been killed ever since the outbreak was detected. China has reported over 100 incidents of the African swine fever outbreak in its territory since August last year.
Although Vice agriculture minister Yu Kangzhen claimed that the number of cases is falling, many including scientists are sceptical of the government’s cover up, to curb panic among people.
The African swine fever which is a separate disease from the swine flu is a highly contagious disease among pigs. Export of pork and related industries have also been hit by the outbreak in many pockets of China. The virus is reported to be not harmful to humans.
In October 2009, occupied Tibet including its capital Lhasa reported high number of the Swine flu or infections with H1N1 influenza cases. An eighteen-year-old Tibetan woman died after she contracted the virus. The Chinese government at the time underplayed the epidemic and declined to give infection figures. The officials Health Ministry's web site said that it sent 200,000 doses of influenza A (H1N1) vaccine to the region following the swine flu cases grew exponentially.