Kitingan: About 3,000 pigs to be culled in Pitas, Sabah to prevent spread of ASF

KOTA KINABALU: About 3,000 domestic and wild pigs are expected to be culled to curb the spread of African Swine Fever (ASF) in the Pitas district.

Deputy Chief Minister cum state Agriculture and Fisheries Minister Datuk Seri Dr Jeffrey Kitingan said 22 pigs in a village there have been culled so far under the first phase of the exercise.

"It is estimated there are about 2,000 pigs in Pitas and about a thousand wild bearded pigs within a radius of 50km. All these animals will have to be culled.

"At the same time, the Veterinary Services Department (DVS) has conducted campaigns in 25 villages there to increase the community's awareness of ASF," he said in a statement on Sunday (Feb 28).

Kitingan said in total, 182 villages are targeted.

"However, the DVS had already carried out a similar social media campaign much earlier," he said.

He said the inclusion of culling wild boar and stray pigs was to ensure ASF does not spread to nearby districts.

The Ministry would also increase surveillance beyond the Pitas district and the DVS had already collected 120 samples from various districts in the state.

He added that samples were also obtained from slaughterhouses, commercial pork sale centres and vendors selling smoked wild boar (sinalau bakas) state-wide.

"In the event that ASF is detected outside of Pitas, the affected districts will also be declared ASF outbreak areas in accordance with the Animal Enactment 2015, giving DVS the full authority to carry out a disease management mechanism through the District Disaster Management Committee.

"The focus now is to contain the virus from spreading beyond Pitas.

"Should this happen, we will do everything we can to protect our main pig-farming areas to ensure Sabah's pork production remains unaffected," he said.

Kitingan reminded all commercial pork operators to increase bio-security management in their respective farms, as well as to report all deaths to DVS for investigation purposes.

Meanwhile, on the discovery of a dead wild bearded pig at a resort in Kinabatangan reported recently, DVS in cooperation with the Sabah Wildlife Department (SWD) had immediately collected samples to investigate the cause of the pig's death.

The test result is expected to be obtained by Tuesday (March 2), he added.

Kitingan reiterated that ASF does not spread to humans.

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