Beijing — China’s agriculture ministry said on Wednesday it cannot rule out the possibility of new African swine fever outbreaks as concern grows over the deadly disease’s spread in the world’s largest hog herd. The ministry said it was not clear how widely the disease had spread, and there was much uncertainty on how the situation would develop. China has reported four outbreaks of African swine fever in four provinces in less than a month and has culled more than 25,000 pigs, highlighting the challenge of containing the highly contagious disease.

The virus has been present and spreading in China’s neighbouring countries for a long time, the ministry said. The risk of transmission is large, it said. China’s strain is similar to one that has hit Russia, Georgia and Estonia over the past decade, raising the possibility that it came across the border from Russia. Beijing has not said how the virus reached China. Beijing has asked local officials to stop transporting live hogs fr...

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