The Penang government, through the state Veterinary Services Department (JPV), is monitoring the spread of African Swine Fever (ASF) in the state closely to prevent any further outbreaks.
Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow said this at a media conference at the ASF operation centre in Perkampungan Valdor, Jawi after being briefed by JPV on the latest outbreak.
He was informed that a total of 23 commercial pig farms with a total of 53,275 pigs in Seberang Perai have been affected by the disease as of today.
“Out of the 53,275 infected pigs, 7,998 pigs have been culled and the process is still ongoing to prevent the spread of ASF.
“The carcasses were also buried on-site for farms that have space, and off-site for small farms which lack space.
“And out of the 23 affected pig farms, 17 are in the south Seberang Perai district, two in the central Seberang Perai district and four in the north Seberang Perai district.
“We are monitoring the situation closely to prevent any further outbreaks,” Chow said.
Also present was Penang JPV director Dr Saira Banu Mohamed Rejab.
Chow said based on state JPV census data, there are 124 pig farms in Penang.
“Out of the 124 pig farms, 101 farms are still free from ASF cases.
“They can continue their operation as usual to ensure the meat supply in the market is sufficient,” he said.
Chow also urged the public and pig farmers in the state to come forward to report any ASF case to JPV for swift action to be taken to prevent further outbreaks.
He said the state government views the matter seriously and necessary actions need to be taken to address the issue.
“They can do so by calling the JPV (ASF operation centre) at 04-5041047,” Chow added.
Dr Saira also urged pig farm operators in the state to follow all the guidelines and standard operating procedures (SOPs) provided by the state JPV.
“This includes a regular disinfection process on their vehicles before and after leaving the slaughterhouse area. Farmers and pig farm workers are also advised not to visit other pig farms.
“They are also advised not to send their pigs to the abattoirs if there are clinical signs of suspected disease at their farms.
“They are requested to report immediately to the state JPV in case of unusual deaths and clinical signs of suspected infectious disease among livestock in the commercial farms and abattoirs,” she said.
Later, over at the Batu Kawan Chinese New Year open house, Chow said the ASF situation in Penang is seen as ‘stabilising’.
“Personally, I feel that the situation is stabilising. Nevertheless, the outbreak is not over.
“There is still a risk of ASF spreading to other pig farms.
“The Penang Veterinary Services Department (JPV) will continue to conduct tests on the farms and monitor the situation,” he told reporters.
Chow added that a JPV team from Putrajaya has arrived in Penang, and another team would be arriving soon to assist Penang in various works.
“So two teams from Putrajaya will be aiding the state JPV in handling this matter,” he said.
Chow said the ASF situation in Penang did not disrupt the meat supply in the market.
According to the World Organisation for Animal Health, the ASF has become a major crisis for the pork industry in recent years and is affecting several regions around the world. It is a highly contagious viral disease of domestic and wild pigs, and the mortality rate can reach 100%.
It is, however, not a danger to human health, but it has a devastating impact on the pig population and the farming industry. There is currently no effective vaccine against ASF.
Story by Riadz Akmal and Christopher Tan
Pix by Ahmad Adil Muhamad
Video by Alissala Thian