BEIJING (Reuters) – China detected African swine fever virus in live pigs being transported to the northeastern Liaoning province, the official Xinhua News Agency said on Saturday, underlining the challenge facing Beijing in its bid to control the contagious disease.

Three trucks carrying a total of 205 pigs from provinces was stopped within the jurisdiction of Liaoning, according to Xinhua, adding that 22 pigs were found dead.

African swine fever, for which there is no cure and no vaccine, kills almost all infected pigs but does not harm people. The virus is similar to the strain found in recent years in Russia, Georgia and Estonia.

Since China’s first reported case in August last year, it has spread to every province and beyond China’s borders, despite measures taken by Beijing to curb its advance.

As many as half of China’s breeding pigs have either died from African swine fever or been slaughtered because of the disease, industry insiders estimate.

(Reporting by Stella Qiu and Ryan Woo; Editing by Edmund Blair)