African Swine Fever now in Sabah's interior, fresh curbs on movement of swine, pork products

KOTA KINABALU: The first case of African Swine Fever (ASF) has been detected in an interior district in Sabah since the January outbreak that affected mainly the northern and eastern parts of the state.

The State Veterinary Services Department (DVS) has reported at least one case of ASF in the interior Nabawan, bringing the number of affected districts to 10.

Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Seri Dr Jeffrey Kitingan said that as of April 18, a total of 169 wild bearded pigs had been confirmed positive for ASF.

“In addition, we have culled 398 head of backyard pigs while 535 have died because of the fever.

“The department has conducted 234 awareness campaigns in 14 districts, not only to educate the public about the disease, but also to highlight the government’s efforts to keep it from spreading to other districts," he said in a statement Friday (April 23).

“Despite the fact that Sandakan has been declared an ASF outbreak district, luckily, it has not spread to the district’s main pork production farms, ” said Jeffrey, who is state Agriculture and Fisheries Minister said.

Jeffrey said the department has tightened movement of pigs and related products through new regulations and special permits.

He said the regulations are aimed at protecting commercial pigs, including special permits issued by the DVS to allow live pigs and pork products to be moved from one area to another.

According to the new ASF control SOP, any outlets selling pork that are found to be infected with the ASF virus will be closed for one day for decontamination, and pork products will only be sold after being screened free of the ASF virus.

Pig farms suspected of being the source of the infected pork will be put under quarantine for up to seven days to assist investigations.

ASF outbreak areas have been declared in eight of the 10 affected districts. These are Pitas, Beluran, Kinabatangan, Lahad Datu, Kota Marudu, Sandakan, Telupid and Tongod.

“Once again, I want to reassure consumers that while this virus is fatal to swine, it is completely harmless to humans, ” he said.

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