Papar declared African Swine Fever zone

Disinfecting pens on a pig farm in Sabah. - Sabah Agriculture and Fisheries Ministry

KOTA KINABALU: Papar became the latest district to be declared an African Swine Fever (ASF) outbreak zone in Sabah after the virus was detected in Kampung Kogopon and Kampung Purak last month.

Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Seri Dr Jeffrey Kitingan said the ASF virus was to blame for the deaths of 91 pigs in the two villages over a two-week period starting mid-September, resulting in losses estimated at RM50,000.

"So far, the virus has only affected backyard pigs and not commercial pigs in the district's four main commercial pig farms. The commercial pig farms house approximately 9,400 heads," he said in a statement here Thursday (Oct 21).

Aside from Papar, two other districts have been declared ASF outbreak districts, namely Kota Kinabalu on Sept 30 and Tenom on Oct 13.

Kitingan, who is also the Agriculture and Fisheries Minister said, the virus in both Kota Kinabalu and Tenom only affected backyard pigs and the cases are considered isolated.

"At this time, the ministry is not considering culling pigs in these districts yet because the cases are isolated and pigs in commercial pig farms are ASF-free after several tests.

"The ministry is confident the supply of pork in the local market will not be disrupted," he said.

As part of its efforts to curb the spread of the virus, the ministry will continue to control movements of pigs and pork products between districts, intensify awareness campaigns in villages and relevant locations, and monitor activities in farms and abattoirs in all affected districts.

Earlier this year, similar disease control measures were implemented in 19 other districts, and the efforts paid off when seven of these districts were reclassified from red to yellow zones after no new ASF cases were reported in 60 days.

These districts are Pitas, Kota Marudu, Beluran, Telupid, Tongod, Kinabatangan and Sandakan.

"The ministry through the Veterinary Services Department, will continue to monitor the ASF situation in the region and take appropriate action to ensure the adequacy of pork-based protein sources in Sabah is guaranteed," said Kitingan.

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