Penang govt on the alert to prevent ASF outbreak


THE Penang government will continue to stay vigilant following an outbreak of African Swine Fever (ASF) in neighbouring Perak.


It was reported recently that there was an outbreak of ASF at two commercial pig farms in Kerian district, Perak on Sept 17 and 18.


State Agrotech and Food Security, Rural Development and Health Committee chairman Dr Norlela Ariffin said so far, Penang did not record any ASF cases yet.


“However, we are on a high alert as Kerian district is not that far from the Penang border, in the south Seberang Perai district.


“Thus, the state government, through the Penang Veterinary Services Department (DVS), has taken the necessary steps to prevent the spread of ASF disease in Penang.


“This includes closely monitoring every commercial pig farm in the state and ensuring there are no transportation or smuggling activities involving any pigs and pork products from affected areas in Perak being carried out and entering the Penang border.


“The public also should not worry as ASF disease is non-zoonotic, which means it is not transmitted to humans.


“Rest assured, we are doing our best to prevent the infection from happening in Penang,” Norlela told Buletin Mutiara when contacted recently.


According to Norlela, cleanliness is the key to preventing ASF disease.


“As we know, the ASF disease can easily be transmitted among the pigs such as through pig transportation vehicles, faeces, carcasses and others.


“And in Penang, we have more than 300,000 commercial pigs and we are one of the biggest pig producers in the country.


“So, this will affect the businesses of our pig farm operators if many of the pigs are infected with the ASF disease.


“Based on our observation, I am glad to note that our pig farm operators in the state are taking the necessary measures to prevent the infection,” she said.


Norlela also commended pig farm operators in the state for following all the guidelines and standard operating procedures (SOPs) provided by the state DVS.


“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 DVS in case of unusual deaths and clinical signs of suspected infectious disease among livestock in the commercial farms and abattoirs.


“So far, we have a good cooperation with all pig farm operators in the state regarding this matter,” said Norlela, adding that the public is also advised not to buy live pigs directly from farms or pig transportation vehicles to reduce the risk of ASF transmission.


On a separate matter, Norlela said the dengue situation in most parts of Penang is currently under control.


“We are also working very closely with the state Health Department on various methods to curb the dengue cases in certain places that recorded high cases.


“This includes planting a special plant and releasing Wolbachia-infected mosquitoes to stop Aedes mosquitoes from coming and breeding at the place.


“We also conduct plenty of cleaning operations, including fogging activities at hotspots, to eradicate the breeding of Aedes mosquitoes and also to stop the spread of chikungunya infections.


“So, we are using all the natural and normal methods as well to curb the dengue cases,” she said.

Story and pix by Riadz Akmal