Mexico prepares for biological attack of swine fever

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The National Guard and the Mexican Army would take the reins if there was a biological attack with African swine fever in Mexico

The National Guard and the Mexican Army would take the reins if there was a biological attack with African swine fever in Mexico, said Senasica chief director Francisco Javier Trujillo Arriaga.

The head of the National Service of Health, Safety and Agrifood Quality (Senasica) said that this hypothesis is considered to take actions during the Field Megasimulacro against this disease that affects domestic and wild pigs.

This simulation exercise started on Wednesday simultaneously in Chiapas, Guanajuato, Nuevo León, Puebla, Querétaro, San Luis Potosí, Sonora and Yucatán, with more than 400 researchers, technicians and sanitary inspection officers from Senasica.

Also present will be staff from the Secretariats of the Interior (Segob), Foreign Relations (SRE), Environment and Natural Resources (Semarnat), the Navy (Semar), as well as Citizen Security and Protection.

Trujillo Arriaga commented that in these prevention actions some relations with the Specialized High Level Committee on Disarmament, Terrorism and International Security (Candesti) are considered in the face of a possible negative scenario.

We are thinking of a hypothesis that someone, intentionally seeking a benefit, could originate such events (of bioterrorism), ”he
replied to Notimex.

He said that although Senasica technicians lack sufficient elements to face a risk of this magnitude, the people of the National Defense Secretariat (Sedena) and the National Guard (GN) have the capacity to intervene and use public force to counteract those criminal actions.

Potential consequences of an outbreak of African swine fever

If the entry of this animal disease -which has been affecting large parts of Africa and some countries in Europe and Asia- has been confirmed for months, would harm at least one million people in the pig industry, he said.

Although an estimate of the economic losses is still made, he indicated that they could be of consideration, because this sector has capital investments and is part of the regional and economic development of several states such as Sonora and Yucatán.

But, he said, the African swine fever will bring a total decrease in the income of the families of Puebla and San Luis Potosí.

With the Megasimulacro, “a family life and death issue is being taken care of, because it is about protecting Mexico’s food sufficiency and giving certainty to the productive sector, business partners and consumers,” he stressed.

The head of Senasica stressed that Mexico has an important sanitary tradition of decades and has developed the technical capacity to detect and control exotic diseases in time, in addition to working with transparency and in conjunction with its main business partners such as the United States and Canada.

Mexico exports pork meat to 27 of the main markets of the five continents and in 2018 131 thousand tons were sent abroad, especially to Japan, China and South Korea, according to data from the Ministry of Agriculture.

To maintain its productive trend, the national pig sector will close this year with a growth of 5.7 percent compared to the previous year, when a million 501 thousand tons produced were reached.

This is a higher percentage than the average livestock activity in the country, whose growth is expected to be 2.7 percent by the end of 2019.

Source: notimex

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