22 PIGS IN PITAS CULLED TO CURB ASF
28 Feb 2021 LAHAD DATU: A total of 22 pigs in a Pitas village have been culled in the first phase of pig culling exercise to curb the spread of African Swine Fever (ASF) in the district. In a statement here today, Deputy Chief Minister cum Agriculture and Fisheries Minister Datuk Seri Panglima Dr Jeffrey Kitingan said more pigs will soon be cut down.
Wild pigs and stray pigs will also be considered for destruction, if necessary, to ensure ASF does not reach the nearby districts. “It is estimated that there are about 2,000 pigs in Pitas and about a thousand wild bearded pigs within a radius of 50km. All these animals will have to be culled. "At the same time, the Department of Veterinary Services (DVS) has conducted campaigns in 25 villages to increase the community's awareness of the ASF. "These are part of a total 182 villages where the campaign would take place. However, the department has already carried out a similar social media campaign much earlier," he said. Kitingan added the ministry would increase surveillance outside Pitas and so far, through DVS, it has already collected 120 samples from various districts to detect the presence of ASF throughout Sabah. Samplings were also obtained from pig slaughterhouses, commercial pork sales centers and vendors selling smoked wild bearded pig (sinalau bakas) statewide.
In the event that the virus is detected outside of Pitas, the affected districts will also be declared ASF outbreak areas in accordance with the Animal Enactment 2015, giving DVS the full authority to carry out disease management mechanism through the District Disaster Management Committee. "The focus now is to contain the virus from spreading outside of Pitas. However, if this happens, we would do everything we can to protect our main pig-farming areas to ensure that Sabah's pork production remains unaffected," he stated. Kitingan reminded all commercial pork operators to increase biosecurity management in their respective farms and to report all deaths to DVS for investigation purposes. Meanwhile, following the discovery of a dead wild bearded pig at a resort in Kinabatangan, the DVS in cooperation with the Sabah Wildlife Department (SWD) immediately set up a team to collect samples and investigate the cause of the pig’s death. The result of the laboratory test is expected to be obtained by Tuesday next week. "I would like to remind the public once again that there is no medicine or vaccine for the ASF. However, the virus is not a zoonotic disease which means it does not spread to humans," said Kitingan.