Thailand puts 24 provinces on alert against African swine fever

Thai authorities have designated 24 provinces as "surveillance areas" for African swine fever and ordered strict animal control with the aim of preventing an outbreak of the disease that has struck neighbouring countries.

Illustrative image (Source: Reuters)

Illustrative image (Source: Reuters)

Thailand has been on high alert since the outbreak of African swine fever among pigs in Myanmar, Laos, Cambodia, but it has yet to report any outbreak.

Earlier this month, the Thai Government ordered the culling of 200 pigs as a preventative action after two pigs died mysteriously in the northern province of Chiang Rai, just 20 km from the Myanmar border.

The Government has put 24 out of its 77 provinces on watch with restrictions on movement of pigs and wild boars, as well as its carcasses, semen or embryos for breeding, Director-General of the Department of Livestock Development Sorawit Thaneto said on September 27.

Violation of the restrictions is punishable by imprisonment of up to two years and a fine of up to 40,000 baht (US$1,300), he said, adding that this is a precautionary measure for provinces that have large pigs population or are in border areas.

The results of the blood test from pigs culled in Chiang Rai also show that the pigs were not infected, but Thailand continues to be on alert, he stressed.

African swine fever is nearly 100 percent fatal to pigs and highly contagious with no vaccine, though not harmful to humans. It was first detected in Asia last August in China, wiping out nearly 40 percent of pigs in the world's largest pork producer.

The disease has since spread across Asia, affecting Mongolia, Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, and the Philippines.

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