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ASF spreads to new areas in Indonesia, Philippines

The first outbreaks of African swine fever (ASF) have now been confirmed on Bali, one of the islands in the Indonesian archipelago.

World Map With Focus On Republic Of Indonesia. Red Triangle Pin
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African swine fever has been confirmed for the first time on the Indonesian island of Bali, and on Mindanao in the Philippines.

The first outbreaks of African swine fever (ASF) have now been confirmed on Bali, one of the islands in the Indonesian archipelago. Almost 1,000 pigs have died in four central districts, reports The Jakarta Post. Worst affected in the district of Badung, where 598 animals have died over the past two months. It is reported that there have been no new outbreaks for the past few days, and that the disease may have been contained.

Officials are blaming farmers for spreading the disease by continuing to feed pigs on leftover food from hotels and restaurants without first boiling the waste to ensure it is free of infection. Head of the Bali agriculture and food security agency said it issued warnings against this risky practice since December. Bali’s pig population can reach as many as 800,000.

First ASF outbreaks in Indonesia were in September 2019. Until the Bali cases were confirmed, the infection was thought to have been contained to the province of North Sumatra, where more than 50,000 pigs have died, according to the report.

Philippines locks down pig production in new area

ASF experience in the Philippines is similar to Indonesia in that the disease appears to have jumped suddenly to a new and distant area. This has occurred after the infection had apparently been contained in one region.

This week, the Department of Agriculture in the Philippines reported to the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) that the disease has been confirmed in the province of Davao del Sur. About 1,000 pigs have died in eight villages in the region, which is on the island of Mindanao.

Officials have locked down the village of Don Marcelino in Davao Occidental, reports Manila Times. Halting the transport of pigs and pork products aims to stop the further spread of the disease. Pig owners are to receive PHP5,000 (US$98.50) for each pig culled, according to this report.

Investigations are underway to find out how ASF jumped suddenly to Mindanao from the previous outbreak area on the island of Luzon. There, the disease appeared to have been contained for the past six months.

Based on the official reports to the OIE, there were 170 confirmed ASF outbreaks in the Philippines between July 25 and the end of 2019. Direct losses amounted to more than 187,000 pigs in 10 provinces/regions on Luzon.

New efforts to control ASF in South Korea

The agriculture ministry is redoubling its efforts to control the spread of ASF, reports Korea Times. It has undertaken to arrange the capture of as many wild boar as possible, and disposal of their remains.

South Korea’s government has requested permission from the United Nations Command to enter the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) in order to assess the ASF situation there, according to Yonhap. Created after the armistice that ended the 1950-53 Korean War, the DMZ separates the two Koreas, and is controlled by the U.S.-led Command.

During the past week, the ministry has reported to the OIE that 95 captured and dead wild boar have tested positive for the ASF virus since January 1. The majority of these animals were located in the northeastern province of Gangwon, particularly in the district of Hwacheon. Others were in the Yeoncheon and Paju regions of Gyeonggi province, also in the north of the country, and near to the border with North Korea.

More wild boar cases in Russia’s Far East

Russia’s agriculture ministry has reported to the OIE that nine more wild boar in the Far Eastern federal district have tested positive for the ASF virus. Eight of the animals were in the previously affected oblast of Amur, and there has been a further case in Primorsky krai.

Concerned at the “unprecedented threat” from the global spread of the disease, the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization is to host an international conference on ASF in April.

View our continuing coverage of the global African swine fever situation.

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