BEIJING (Reuters) – China will mandate more laboratories to conduct African swine fever virus tests, the country’s agriculture ministry said on Friday.

Animal disease control departments below the provincial level, laboratories in universities, and third-party labs, will be able to conduct tests on samples for the deadly virus, with the approval of provincial authorities, the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs said in a notice on its website.

The notice came after China has reported more than 40 cases in less than three months, highlighting the challenge of controlling spread of the highly contagious disease among the world’s biggest swine herd.

(Reporting by Hallie Gu and Dominique Patton; Editing by Christian Schmollinger)