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African swine fever returns to Myanmar

At the start of June, animal health authorities in Myanmar (Burma) reported the first cases of African swine fever (ASF) for seven months.

herd of young piglet on hay and straw at pig breeding farm
Kadmy |

Meanwhile, new cases are reported in pigs in Indonesia, Malaysia and Timor-Leste, as well as in South Africa and Uganda.

At the start of June, animal health authorities in Myanmar (Burma) reported the first cases of African swine fever (ASF) for seven months.

According to the official report to the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE), the ASF virus was detected at a farm in Shan state after nine pigs there died. Subsequently, eight more of the animals died. The fate of the remaining pigs of the original herd of 153 is not reported.

ASF was last reported in Myanmar in October 2020.

Located in the east of the country, Shan state shares international borders with China, Laos, and Thailand. It is the same state where Myanmar’s previous ASF outbreak wave began in February 2020.

Further ASF cases registered in Malaysia

In early February, Malaysia reported the country’s first ever case of ASF. This was in a wild pig in the state of Sabah on the island of Borneo. Since then, reports of further cases in the state have come to light.

The latest official report from the veterinary authority to the OIE outlines two new confirmed ASF outbreaks, including one at a community farm in the Sabah district of Sandakan. In the early days of June, half of the 70 pigs at the farm died. The only other outbreak at a farm was at the end of April, when 450 pigs were involved in another premises in the same district.

Also included in the latest report was an outbreak among backyard herds at a village in the Kota Belud district in late March.

So far, there have been 32 confirmed ASF outbreaks in Malaysia. All have occurred in the state of Sabah. Among wild boar — where the disease first broke out — there have been 52 confirmed cases in 21 outbreaks across eight districts. In addition, nine outbreaks have been registered in backyard herds in four districts. As well as Sandakan and Kota Belud, these have occurred in the district of Pits and Beluran. The number of domestic pigs directly impacted in Malaysia’s ASF outbreaks so far has reached 1,133.

First ASF case in northern Philippines province

In the past few days, the first cases of ASF was confirmed in Ilocos Norte, reports Philippine News Agency (PNA). A total of 28 pigs have been culled in two remote villages near the town of Solsona. The cases were detected as the result of surveillance and monitoring in the area, which is close to two provinces where previous cases have occurred.

Part of the Ilocos Region, Ilocos Norte is a province in the far northwest of the island of Luzon.

As well as many small-scale hog farmers, there is one commercial pig farm in the province.

“We’re reminding hog farmers to adhere to stringent biosecurity protocols, eliminate meat-based swill feeding, and limit interaction between pig farms,” said the provincial veterinarian. “Buyers, too, should be wary of fraudulent vendors, particularly in online trading. Let us be mindful of the consequences that this disease will have on our community if it is not properly controlled.”

To speed up the detection of possible ASF cases, rapid testing equipment has been dispatched to the Western Visayas region, according to PNA. The PCR machine will be used to analyze samples from pigs and meat products collected from the field. So far, this region is free to ASF.

ASF situation elsewhere in Asia

Combined losses from ASF and classical swine fever (CSF) in Timor-Leste (East Timor) are put at 129,000, according to the latest update on the disease situation from the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). This is equivalent to 28% of the population prior to the arrival of ASF in September 2019.

In the Indonesian province of East Kalimantan, the same source reports the deaths of 78 pigs out of 680 animals in two villages.

The number of South Korean wild boar testing positive for the ASF virus has reached 1,426. This was the figure as of June 8. ASF was first detected in the nation’s domestic pigs in September 2019; since then, it has been found at 17 farms. The next month, the first infected wild boar was identified.

South Africa registers five new ASF outbreaks

Two farms and three backyard herds are among the latest premises to be confirmed with ASF in South Africa.

Covering outbreaks starting between February 17 and June 2, the latest report by the national veterinary authority outlines the latest cases in the north and center of the country. Three outbreaks occurred in the province of Gauteng, and one in each of the North West and Free State. Both of the affected farms were in Gauteng, and had 110 and 450 pigs.

The first cases in this ASF series were in Mpumalanga in April 2019. Since then, the outbreak total to 61, directly impacting more than 39,600 pigs.

Pig losses mount in Uganda’s Central region

In the Masaka district, local pig owners are reporting steadily growing mortality of pigs. According to Daily Monitor, more than 100 animals have died over the past two weeks.

Pigs represent an important source of income in the country. Concerned owners are calling on officials and the government for support to tackle the spread of the disease. However, local veterinarians have been switched to helping fight the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

From the chair of the pig association comes advice to pig owners not to move or slaughter their pigs. These measures will halt the further spread of infection. With the same goal, any mortalities should be buried on the farm, and the area must be disinfected.

According to the state minister for the animal industry, pig owners can look forward to a new ASF vaccine.

Recently, U.S. researchers announced that they have developed some promising ASF vaccine candidates, but these are still undergoing testing. Currently, no proven safe and effective vaccine is available to control ASF.

Over the past six months, reports Daily Monitor, “hundreds of pigs” have died of ASF in the Northern region districts of Otuke and Kitgum.

In February, losses from ASF in this area of Uganda were put at between 700 and 1,500 animals in this region.

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

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