African Swine Fever Outbreak Suspected in Indonesia

African swine fever is threatening China's massive pork industry. ( MGN )

An outbreak of classical swine fever (CSF), also called hog cholera, was noted as the cause of death for 4,000 pigs in the Indonesian province of North Sumatra on Nov. 6. According to further laboratory tests, African swine fever (ASF) was detected as well, said an agriculture ministry official on Friday.

“Clinical symptoms and laboratory test results point to African swine fever, but there are also samples that are positive for hog cholera,” Fadjar Sumping Tjatur Rassa, the agriculture ministry’s director of animal health, told Reuters.

ASF has not been formally confirmed. Rassa could not say how many deaths were caused by ASF versus CSF. 

“For the ASF, of concern is the economic loss because of its rapid spread and its high mortality rate,” Rassa said, adding that both CSF and ASF do not infect humans and cause no threat to food safety.

Classical swine fever was first detected in September in the province’s Dairi district.

The government has implemented increased biosecurity measures in the affected areas by ordering authorities to immediately bury pig carcasses and disinfect areas to prevent the virus spreading, Reuters reports.
A halt on movement of pigs and pork products from the affected area is also underway.

Videos have circulated of authorities in boats collecting pig carcasses that had been thrown into rivers in order to bury them, Reuters reports.

In September, East Timor, which shares an island with Indonesia’s province of East Nusa Tenggara and is located north of Australia, reported more than 100 outbreaks of ASF, killing 405 backyard pigs.

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