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Sunday, February 28, 2021

Sabah to cull 3,000 pigs to stop spread of African swine fever


Sabah deputy chief minister Jeffrey Kitingan gave an assurance that the African swine fever could not be spread from pigs to humans. (Bernama pic)

LAHAD DATU: More than 3,000 pigs are expected to be culled in the Pitas district in Sabah to curb the spread of African swine fever.

Sabah deputy chief minister Jeffrey Kitingan said 22 pigs in a village in Pitas had so far been culled in the first phase of the exercise. More pigs are expected to be culled in the near future.

“It is estimated there are 2,000 pigs in Pitas. About 1,000 wild bearded pigs within a radius of 50km will also have to be put down.

“At the same time, the veterinary department (DVS) has conducted campaigns in 25 villages there to raise greater public awareness on the disease.”

He said the department had targeted 182 villages in total in the district and a social media campaign has been launched.

Kitingan, who is also the agriculture and fisheries minister, said 120 samples had been collected from slaughterhouses, commercial pork sale centres and vendors selling smoked wild boar.

If the swine fever is detected outside of Pitas, the affected districts will also be declared outbreak areas in accordance with the Animal Enactment 2015.

This will give DVS the full authority to carry out disease management through the respective district disaster management committee, Kitingan said.

“I would like all commercial pork operators to increase biosecurity control on their farms and report all deaths to DVS for investigation.”

He said DVS and the Sabah Wildlife Department had immediately set up a team to collect samples and investigate the cause of death following the discovery of a dead wild boar at a resort in Kinabatangan.

Laboratory test results are expected to be known on Tuesday.

“I would like to remind the public once again that ASF does not have a cure or a vaccine. However, this virus is not a zoonotic disease — meaning it is not contagious to humans,” Kitingan said. - FMT

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