The Ministry of Agriculture yesterday announced that African Swine Fever has spread to two more provinces, prompting local officials to take urgent measures to contain the outbreak.
In March, cases of ASF were detected in Ratanakiri province and it then spread to Tboung Khmum last month.
Agriculture Minister Veng Sakhon yesterday said in separate statements that cases have also been detected in the provinces of Svay Rieng and Takeo.
Mr Sakhon said that in Svay Rieng, cases were detected in Khang Tboung village in Svay Chrum district’s Kraol Kor commune, while in Takeo, cases were detected in Ampil village in Angkor Borei district’s Ponley commune.
He said the General Department of Animal Health and Production must take action by culling ASF-infected pigs, spraying disinfectants, suspending pork trade, and preventing the transportation of the animals within a three-kilometre radius around the affected areas, while pig farms within a 10-kilometre radius must be monitored.
“The raising, trade and transportation of pigs and all kinds of pork products in the areas have to be suspended [until further notice],” Mr Sakhon said, adding that letters were sent to the governors of Svay Rieng and Tekeo calling for them to follow the instructions.
He noted that according to a National Animal Health and Production Research Institute statement on July 5, ASF is a virus present in pig’s blood that leads to the death of the animal. He said ASF infected pigs cause profit losses for farmers and that it can spread from one region to another.
“Provincial governors and local authorities at all levels must help coordinate the implementation of veterinary measures by expert officials to strengthen the prevention of the transportation of pigs and pork products within the three kilometre radius,” Mr Sakhon said.
Tan Phannara, director of the General Animal Health and Production Department, said the department has yet to identify the cause of the outbreak, but it will follow the ministry’s instructions.
“Since June 29, more than 40 pigs died in Svay Rieng province and more than 30 died in Takeo province, but this number can increase,” Mr Phannara said.
Nheb Sron, director of the Takeo provincial agriculture department, yesterday said provincial officials are working hard to prevent the import of pigs from Vietnam.
“We have been preventing the import of pigs from Vietnam since February, but it could have been from pork products left over for pigs to eat,” Mr Sron said.
Last week, the United Nation’s Food and Agriculture Organisation said ASF continues to spread within East and Southeast Asia in countries such as China, Vietnam, Cambodia, Mongolia, North Korea, and most recently in Laos.
It noted that millions of pigs have perished or have been culled because of the disease.
The FAO said the spread of ASF raises concerns over food security for millions of people dependent on pig farming. The outbreak is particularly affecting vulnerable subsistence farmers as they usually lack the expertise or funds necessary to protect their herds from the disease.