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Outbreak Of African Swine Fever Detected In 2 Pig Farms In Perak

Pigs that were infected with the virus are in the process of being culled and disposed of.

Cover image via The Pirbright Institute & chx69/CANVA

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Two commercial pig farms were found to be infected with African Swine Fever (ASF) in Kerian, Perak on 17 and 18 September

The Department of Veterinary Services (DVS) announced in a statement that the outbreak was confirmed through a Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) test conducted by the Veterinary Research Institute (VRI).

"The infected farms have been sealed and prohibited from any transportation of pigs or movement of vehicles. In addition to surveillance, clinical inspections and sampling at the affected commercial pig farms have been carried out. The conditions for moving pigs and pork products from the state of Perak to the rest of Malaysia have also been tightened," the statement detailed.

In addition to the precautions, all infected pigs will be culled and disposed of immediately.

In spite of this, the organisation has assured the public that the outbreak is currently under control and the Kerian district is the only area affected. It has advised the public to refrain from panicking as the ASF virus is not transmissible from animals to humans.

ASF is a highly infectious and deadly disease that affects wild and farm-raised pigs

The virus is passed from one pig to another through direct contact with bodily fluids from an infected pig. Symptoms of ASF in pigs include:

- High fever
- Lack of strength
- Decreased appetite
- Red/blotchy skin lesions
- Diarrhea
- Vomiting
- Coughing
- Difficulty breathing

Pilling amongst pigs typically occur when pigs have a fever, a sign that the pigs may have ASF.

Image via National Hog Farmer

The DVS has advised farmers to follow heightened safety protocols and to strengthen biosecurity practices within their facilities

Farmers are advised to refrain from visiting other pig farms and to avoid sending their pigs to abattoirs if they suspect the disease is present in the pig. Thorough disinfection of clothing, equipment, and transport vehicles is also required to reduce the chances of cross contamination and spread of the disease.

They will also be required to report any signs of the disease among their pigs to the district veterinary services office (PPVD) and state veterinary services office or directly to the Crisis Management Room hotline of the Putrajaya Veterinary Services Department. Failure to report can result in a hefty fine of up to RM25,000. 

The public are also advised to avoid buying any live pigs directly from pig farms or vehicles transporting live pigs

A pig farm in Jinhua, China, being disinfected to prevent the spread of ASF.

Image via Reuters

There have been a number of ASF outbreaks reported in Malaysia over the past several years:

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