Thailand farms

African swine fever detected in backyard farms in Sibu

KUCHING: Veterinary authorities have detected African swine fever (ASF) at three backyard farms in Durin, Sibu, where massive pig deaths have recently been reported.

State Minister of Modernization of Agriculture and Regional Development Datuk Seri Dr Stephen Rundi said the cases were confirmed on Monday (January 10) by the state’s veterinary diagnostic laboratory at the using RT-PCR testing.

He said staff from the Sarawak Veterinary Services Department were now on the ground to determine the extent of the outbreak and had taken steps to prevent the disease from spreading further to other pig farms.

“Surveillance, both clinical and serological, is underway and samples are being taken for laboratory diagnosis,” he said in a statement.

Rundi said the ministry and department had made several commitments with pig farmers to strengthen their biosecurity, including preventing foreigners from visiting their farms.

He said farmers were also advised not to feed their pigs leftovers from restaurants or kitchens, as the ASF virus in contaminated pork products could survive the cooking process and cause infection.

Since there was no treatment or vaccine available to treat or control ASF, Rundi said any farm infected with the virus would be sealed and quarantined.

“All pigs on the farm will be slaughtered, the farm depopulated and the carcasses disposed of by burial on site,” he added and called for the cooperation of all stakeholders, including breeders, by being more vigilant and preventing ASF from infecting their herds.

Rundi said the highly contagious disease, which affects only pigs, could cause serious economic losses for farmers and impact the state’s food security.

“Everything must be done to contain the disease and prevent it from spreading to other parts of the state,” he said.

However, he added that the disease was not zoonotic (spread from animals to humans) and was not harmful to humans.