Okay, as a continuation of the previous post, this post will focus on the potential impacts the pig carcasses in the Chinese rivers can have on human health.
Mentioned in the previous post, lab samples of the dead pigs showed evidence of porcine circovirus (PCV), a virus that causes wasting and mortality in piglets, but is not dangerous to humans. But rumour has it that the pigs dumped into the river were fed with arsenic, to make their skin glossier and thus to be sold at a better price (Schwan, 2013). The viral outbreak of PCV has caused the farm to dispose most of the pigs, but some are circulated into the market. Assuming that a consumer does happen to eat this arsenic-fed pig, then he is consuming this cancer-causing toxic chemical that is fatal in high doses(Collective-Evolution, 2013). This can be worrying, especially since the Chinese consumption of pork is very high, with pork taking up 60% of the market share for meat (Schwan, 2013).
On a more optimistic note, there is no good evidence that PCV is harmful to humans. In the United States, porcine circovirus sequences can be detected in human feces, and it is most likely to have originated from consumption of pork products, most of which also contain porcine circoviruses. In other words, even the usual consumption of pork will cause the human excretion to contain PCV, suggesting it as a normal phenomena. But, infected pigs may contain various diseases including postweaning multisystemic wasting syndrome, and porcine dermatitis and nephropathy syndrome (Virology.ws, 2013). So if we consume these infected pigs (which is rumoured to be sold in the market), there can be cross-species pathogens, which impacts has yet to be studied. Similarly, the co-infection of PCV and other viral strain (which has yet to be studied as well) may be problematic.
Nonetheless, the authorities have to step up their game in enforcing disposal practices. Apart from fining 8 farms and then jailing 46 people for the carcasses disposal, more important is marrying these methods with monitoring and strict regular checks, such that the disposal will not happen in the first place.
That’s all for today.
Collective-Evolution, (2013). FDA Finally Admits Chicken Meat Contains Cancer-Causing Arsenic. [online] Available at: http://www.collective-evolution.com/2013/08/16/fda-finally-admits-chicken-meat-contains-cancer-causing-arsenic/ [Accessed 12 Mar. 2015].
Schwan, K. (2013). Thousands of Dead Pigs Dumped into Huangpu River, Shanghai | HealthMap. [online] Healthmap.org. Available at: http://www.healthmap.org/site/diseasedaily/article/thousands-dead-pigs-dumped-huangpu-river-shanghai-32013 [Accessed 12 Mar. 2015].
Virology.ws, (2013). Circovirus in Shanghai. [online] Available at: http://www.virology.ws/2013/03/19/circovirus-in-shanghai/ [Accessed 12 Mar. 2015].