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Jakarta Post

ASF outbreak only hit, killing pigs in North Sumatra: Minister

  • Apriadi Gunawan

    The Jakarta Post

Serdang Bedagai, North Sumatra   /   Fri, February 21, 2020   /   03:10 pm
ASF outbreak only hit, killing pigs in North Sumatra: Minister According to the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE), ASF is caused by “a large-DNA virus of the Asfarviridae family”. While ASF is not a risk to human health, the disease can be transmitted to other pigs through direct and indirect contact, such as through “ingestion of contaminated material”. (Bloomberg/File)

Agriculture Minister Syahrul Yasin Limpo has assured that the African Swine Fever (ASF) outbreak had only hit and affected pigs in North Sumatra, and that the virus had not spread to any other of the country’s regions. 

“The outbreak only hit North Sumatra and the trend [of pigs dying from the virus] has gradually declined,” Syahrul said on Thursday. 

Following reports of the ASF killing some 46,000 pigs in North Sumatra since last year, Bali followed to confirm that more than 800 pigs on the resort island had been killed by a mysterious disease since December.

The Bali Agriculture and Food Security Agency previously confirmed that the pigs had died from the virus but it later backtracked and asserted that it was only a suspicion, saying that the agency would wait for lab test results to confirm the source of the outbreak.

Read also: Keep calm, eat pork: Bali official changes tune, saying swine fever not confirmed yet

Syahrul said the number of deaths caused by the ASF had decreased significantly because the local administration had implemented biosecurity measures to reduce the risk of virus transmission among pigs.

He went on to say that the North Sumatra administration was no longer considering the culling of pigs in the province to halt the virus spread because the government was developing an antidote or vaccine to address the disease. 

“The government is preparing the vaccine for ASF, so there will be no mass culling of pigs but instead biosecurity measures will be strengthened,” he said.

North Sumatra Governor Edy Rahmayadi said many carcasses have been found on the province’s streets and rivers since September last year, allegedly disposed by pig owners. 

The virus — which is not contagious for humans as it can only be transmitted among pigs — has raised the concerns of pig farmers, with many of them demanding that the administration give compensation for their dead hogs.

Read also: #SaveBabi: Medan demonstrators protest pig culling amid swine fever outbreak

“The government cannot give compensation for dead livestock because of the virus,” Edy said, adding that it was against the 2009 law on husbandry and animal health.

The governor asserted that the provincial administration had been trying to find solutions for the pig farmers who were affected by the outbreak, as he went on to call for locals to stop holding protests on the streets in relation to the outbreak and maintain public order. 

North Sumatra Police chief Insp. Gen. Martuani Sormin Siregar also concurred with Edy, saying that he hoped the public would stop exaggerating the matter as he suspected there were people using the situation to disrupt public order and security in the province.

“If there is anyone who is dissatisfied, let's discuss or submit solutions in letters. We want to build a dignified and prosperous society,” he said. (hol)