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Taiwan moves closer to eradicating major animal diseases


In March of 1997, Taiwan experienced a major outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease (FMD). After 24 years of dedicated effort by the government and people of Taiwan, the World Organisation for Animal Health (WOAH) recognized Taiwan proper and its outlying island territories of Penghu and Matsu as an FMD-free zone without vaccination in June 2020. Beyond Taiwan's borders, China first saw an outbreak of African swine fever (ASF) in August of 2018. The disease spread throughout China and has since become established in 16 other Asian countries. In East Asia, only Taiwan and Japan have blocked the disease.

In addition to successfully preventing FMD and ASF epidemics, Taiwan has recorded no cases of goat pox for more than 10 years and recorded the last case of lumpy skin disease within cattle in June 2021. The nation continues to make great progress toward ending vaccinations for classical swine fever (CSF) and goat pox, and being classified as a free zone for both diseases by WOAH. Once Taiwan achieves these goals, it will become one of a select few countries in the world that is free from FMD, ASF and CSF. Meanwhile, the government is promoting the modernization of hog farming equipment, expediting the establishment of cold chain facilities and actively seeking out export markets for poultry and livestock products, to ensure that Taiwan's animal husbandry industry continues to go from strength to strength.

Current status

Preventing African swine fever outbreaks: Measures include strengthening inspections and providing guidance to livestock farms, meat markets and slaughterhouses; carrying out X-ray screening at Taoyuan International Airport on all checked-in luggage and cabin baggage on flights arriving from high-risk regions; conducting early-warning disease surveillance and sample testing of items including illicit or smuggled products, abandoned hog carcasses within Taiwan's borders, and slaughterhouse material; educating hog farmers that still use kitchen waste to instead transition to commercial pig feed; and making GPS transmitters compulsory for vehicles transporting live hogs and freshly-slaughtered hog carcasses.

Eradicating classical swine fever: Taiwan ended nationwide CSF vaccinations for Taiwan's hog population in July 2023 and continues to conduct disease surveillance. The government will submit an application to WOAH after June 2024 for Taiwan to be classified as a CSF-free zone.

Eradicating goat pox: Taiwan ended nationwide goat pox vaccinations in January 2023 and continues to conduct disease surveillance. The government is preparing the necessary documentation to declare Taiwan a goat-pox-free zone to WOAH.

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