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Jakarta Post

Two Sumatra regencies report sudden death of pigs

  • Apriadi Gunawan

    The Jakarta Post

Medan, North Sumatra   /   Tue, April 28, 2020   /   05:26 pm
Two Sumatra regencies report sudden death of pigs I Putu Eka Dharmana, a vet from the Department of Agriculture and Food Health of Denpasar city, sprays disinfectant into a pig pen in Denpasar, Bali, on Feb. 4. (JP/Zul Trio Anggono)

The Medan Veterinary Center in North Sumatra has dispatched a team to probe the recent death of hundreds of pigs in the regencies of Nias and South Nias.

The office's head, Agustia, said Tuesday that sudden deaths of the animals had constantly been reported in the past month. 

"Between 300 and 400 pigs have died in the two regions within the last month. It's a quite big number," said Agustia.

She said the team had secured blood samples of the dead livestock to be tested at its laboratory, which would require around seven to 14 days. 

"With that, we can eventually find out whether the death was caused by the African swine fever [ASF] or other factors," she added.

ASF had killed thousands of pigs across North Sumatra between the end of last year and the beginning of this year, but Agustina claimed that Nias Island was relatively safe from the outbreak. No sudden deaths of pigs were reported in the region at that time.

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

The South Nias Agriculture Agency confirmed separately that thousands of pigs in the particular region had died of unknown causes recently. Up to 3,000 pigs died in Susua district alone, and another 670 in Mazo district.

"The residents feel troubled by the incident. They think that the pigs have died of hog cholera [or classical swine fever] but that has yet to be proven," the agency's head, Norododo Sarumaha, said.

At least 42,000 pigs have died of ASF in 18 regions in North Sumatra in the past few months. The regions affected include Deli Serdang, Karo, Medan, North Tapanuli, Samosir and Simalungun.

North Sumatra Food Security and Animal Husbandry Agency head Azhar Harahap said previously that the administration had taken steps to prevent any future outbreaks, such as stepping up biosecurity measures by making it mandatory for pig breeders to clean pig enclosures with standardized disinfectants.

The first ASF outbreak occurred in China in 2018, he explained. The virus later spread to Hong Kong, the Philippines and Timor Leste. The outbreak in North Sumatra began in October last year, he added. (vny)