KOTA KINABALU: Malaysia has notified international animal health organisations of five African Swine Fever (ASF) viral outbreaks in Sabah that involve domesticated pigs and wild boars.
According the World Organisation for Animal Health (OiE) website, Malaysia has confirmed outbreaks in Sabah's northern Pitas and Kota Marudu as well as neighbouring Beluran.
The biggest outbreak was the widely reported case at Kampung Ompungoi in Pitas that involved 212 domesticated pigs which was detected on Feb 8.
The notification also confirmed the detection of ASF in five wild boars at a forest reserve in the Sugut area of neighbouring Beluran that was initially reported to have no cases on Feb 8.
The notification said that a third outbreak was at Kampung Radu Laut in Kota Marudu that neighbours Pitas district involving seven domesticated pigs.
A fourth outbreak was detected among 78 domesticated pigs at Kampung Patani in Pitas on Feb 10 and a fifth was detected in Kampung Kaboton in the Sugut area of Beluran on Feb 11 involving six pigs.
The source of the outbreak of ASF - which does not infect humans- in the area is still unknown, and the investigation began after concerns were raised over the deaths of wild boars in the
The initial tests by the Sabah Veterinary Services Department had turned up negative for ASF, but the virus was detected in the deaths of domesticated pigs in northern Pitas.
On Sunday (Feb 28), Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Seri Dr Jeffrey Kitingan said that 3,000 domestic and wild pigs are expected to be culled to curb the spread of ASF in Pitas district.
The state Agriculture and Fisheries Minister added that 22 pigs in a village there have been culled under the first phase of the exercise and said that they expected to cull 2,000 pigs in Pitas.
Jeffrey also said that about 1,000 wild bearded pigs within a radius of 50 kilometres would also be culled.
He added that the authorities were also conducting awareness programmes at 182 villages in a targeted campaign and said that samples were being taken from pig slaughterhouses, commercial pork sales centres and vendors selling smoked wild bearded pig (sinalau bakas) state-wide.
However, Jeffrey did not say if the virus was detected outside Pitas while the state Wildlife Department has yet to state any measures taken to combat the spread of the
disease among the wild boar population in conservation areas.
He said that the focus now was to contain the virus from spreading outside of Pitas.
The ASF virus does not affect humans.