Source: The Borneo Post Sabah
Disinfection of a farmhouse in Pitas following the detection of ASF.
KOTA KINABALU: The African Swine Fever (ASF) virus has now spread to other districts, infecting both domestic pigs and their cousins, the wild bearded pigs. In a statement here yesterday, Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Seri Panglima Dr Jeffrey Kitingan said the virus was detected among domestic pigs in Kota Marudu and Pitas as well as wild bearded pigs in Lahad Datu, Sandakan, Kinabatangan, Beluran and Telupid.
“This includes the case of a dead wild bearded pig at a resort in the Kinabatangan district which went viral on social media last week,” he said.
Fortunately, he said commercial pig farms in Tawau, Sandakan, Tenom, Papar, Tuaran and Penampang that supply most of Sabah’s pork products are still free of the ASF virus.
“We must ensure these areas remain ASF-free so that the pork production for local consumption is not affected. Even though ASF does not infect humans, it is capable of causing great economic damage as well as disrupting the well-being of our society. Therefore, it is crucial for us to control and eliminate this disease,” he said.
Kitingan who is also the Agriculture and Fisheries Minister, said the government will declare affected districts as ASF outbreak areas in accordance with the Animal Enactment 2015.
This declaration, which would be made by the respective district and municipal administrators, would allow the DVS to carry out effective control measures through the District Disaster Management Committee. Pigs in areas where the ASF virus was found would be destroyed and disposed of and the areas disinfected, starting from the epicentre where the virus was first detected.
The Sabah Wildlife Department (SWD) will also help to coordinate efforts to control the spread of the ASF virus from the wild bearded pigs to commercial pigs by suspending hunting licences and prohibiting the selling of ‘sinalau bakas’ as previously stated.
“We will set up the ASF Disease Crisis Management Committee, chaired by the DVS Director. This committee will include the SWD, security forces, Local Government and Housing Ministry representatives, State Attorney-General Office representatives, and other related agencies. They will help to formulate the necessary policies to control and subsequently eradicate the ASF in Sabah as soon as possible,” said Kitingan.
So far, he said a total of 110 pigs from nine villages in the ASF infection zone have been destroyed and disposed of. DVS has carried out its awareness campaigns in 54 out of 182 villages in Pitas. As of Saturday, a total of 347 samples were collected from various districts to detect the presence of the ASF virus throughout Sabah.