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KUCHING, Jan 10: African Swine Fever (ASF) has been detected in three backyard farms in Durin in the Sibu Division, says Modernisation of Agriculture and Regional Development Minister Dato Sri Dr Stephen Rundi.
These cases were confirmed today by the State Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory using the Real-Time Polymerase Chain Reaction (RT-PCR) tests.
“African Swine Fever or ASF is a highly virulent and contagious viral disease affecting only pigs.
“The disease could lead to serious economic losses to our local farmers and also have an impact on food security.
“The virus is not harmful to humans, and it is not a zoonotic disease,” said Dr Rundi in a press statement today.
He said the Department of Veterinary Services Sarawak (DVSS) has already mobilised its personnel on the ground to determine the extent of the outbreak and have taken all the necessary action to contain the disease and stop it from spreading further to other pig farms.
Clinical and serological surveys are also being conducted, and specimens are taken for laboratory diagnoses.
Dr Rundi also stressed that the importation of pork and pork products from ASF-infected countries, including West Malaysia and Sabah, is already banned.
He said DVS Sarawak will continue to conduct checks at airports, seaports, and shops to ensure that pork and pork products brought in illegally are not sold to the public.
The Regulatory Division of DVSS will continue to enforce the Veterinary Public Health Ordinance 1999 to ensure pork and pork products imported are from countries free from ASF. He added that all imports must require import permits, and smugglers will be severely dealt with.
“My Ministry and the Department of Veterinary Services have had several engagements with pig farmers for them to step up their farm biosecurity, including preventing outsiders from visiting their farms.
“We have also advised our pig farmers not to feed their pigs with leftover food from restaurants or kitchens as the ASF virus in contaminated pork products can survive the cooking process,” said Dr Rundi.
He said currently, there is no treatments or vaccines available to treat or control ASF. Therefore, any farm with confirmed ASF cases will be sealed and quarantined, and all the pigs within it will be culled, the farm depopulated, and the carcasses disposed of by burial on site.
“ASF is a disease of great economic importance for Sarawak, and every attempt must be made to contain the disease and prevent it from spreading to other parts of the State.
“I wish to seek the cooperation from all the stakeholders, especially our local pig farmers, to step up their farm biosecurity measures to prevent ASF from infecting their pigs,” said Dr Rundi.
Contact the nearest Department of Veterinary Services office for further questions or send a text via WhatsApp to the Regulatory hotline at 016-284 0918. — DayakDaily