* Ban comes after 4th outbreak last week
* Shandong is almost twice as large as Austria
* Step may disrupt pig trade routes from farm to slaughterhouse (Adding details, map)
BEIJING, Aug 27 (Reuters) - China’s Shandong province said it has banned live hogs and related products from areas of high risk for African swine fever (ASF) from entering the province, in a bid to stop the spread of the deadly disease across the world’s largest herd.
The eastern province will strengthen inspection and quarantine on slaughtering of hogs and step up checks on live hogs and products being transported within the region, Shandong’s animal husbandry bureau said in a statement on its website on Sunday.
The move comes after China discovered another outbreak of the highly contagious disease on Thursday, its fourth since the country’s first ever outbreak was reported on Aug. 3.
Preventing pigs from infected areas from travelling into the coastal province, which is almost twice the size of Austria and the country’s No. 4 pork producer, will be a major challenge, potentially disrupting established trade routes.
Shandong is surrounded by the province of Hebei and two ASF-infected regions, Henan and Jiangsu. Trucks carrying pigs from northeastern farms and markets normally travel through the province to slaughterhouses in the south.
The prohibition would also prevent slaughterhouses and meat processing factories from using pigs or pork from affected regions.
China’s southern Hunan province and third-largest pork producer, has also ramped up inspections and monitoring of live hogs and related products transported across provinces, the local government said in a statement last Thursday.
It also strengthened inspections of farms, slaughterhouses, markets, animal treatment plants, especially those handling live hogs and related products from high risk areas.
Reporting by Hallie Gu and Josephine Mason; Editing by Tom Hogue and Richard Pullin