A deadly viral epidemic is devastating pig populations in Asia, threatening livelihoods and food security and costing economies billions of dollars. African swine fever is driving home the continued importance of strengthening the capacity of nations to detect and respond effectively to emerging diseases. The first confirmed outbreak of African swine fever in Asia was reported in August 2018 and since then it has spread to through Southeast Asia and other parts of Asia and the Pacific.

The highly virulent strain of the virus circulating in Asia has an estimated case fatality rate of 90%-95% in pigs with no effective vaccine. The responses to the virus have been severe by necessity.

Widespread culling has been implemented in most countries. Movement bans and market closures have been enacted. Heightened monitoring has been implemented to the degree feasible.

Compensation systems have been established to varying degrees. Extensive awareness raising campaigns have been developed, encouraging reporting of any disease.

A version of this article appears in the print on February 26, 2021, of The Himalayan Times.