Source: The Borneo Post, Sarawak
File photo for illustration purposes.
SIBU (July 5): The Department of Veterinary Services (DVS) Sarawak has launched a probe into claims that wild boars in Kapit had died from suspected African Swine Fever (ASF).
Its director Dr Adrian Susin Ambud said the department is aware of the claims which have been circulating over WhatsApp.
“Our staff in Kapit is investigating (the veracity of the claims) now. Members of the public are urged not to share unverified news or information that can cause panic,” he said when contacted yesterday.
In one of the circulated WhatsApp voice messages, an individual is heard advising against buying wild boar meat at markets in Kapit for the time being, allegedly because the boars had died from ASF, and instead to buy ‘regular’ pork.
Messages offering similar advice have also been making their rounds over WhatsApp, each claiming to have heard about wild boars dying from the disease.
On Feb 22, Sarawak enforced an import ban on pig, pork and pork products from Sabah following news reports that eight out of 13 pigs sampled from Pitas were tested positive for ASF.
The ban was enforced under Section 8 of the Sarawak Veterinary Public Health Ordinance 1999, and any person caught violating the ban would face a fine up to RM50,000 or a maximum jail time of two years.
This was followed by DVS Sarawak declaring Limbang as an ASF disease control area on Feb 26, due to its proximity to Sabah.
According to the World Organisation For Animal Health, ASF is a highly contagious haemorrhagic viral disease of domestic and wild pigs, which is responsible for serious economic and production losses. The virus does not pose a health risk to humans.
Meanwhile, Dr Adrian urged villagers who discover dead wild boars in their area, to immediately report the matter to DVS Sarawak’s regulatory hotline on 016-2840918.