Almost 600 pigs reported dead in Huaphan

VIENTIANE (Vientiane Times/ANN) - Almost 600 pigs have died in 17 villages of Xon district in Huaphan province, although it is not yet known whether African swine fever was the cause of death. 

Head of the district’s Agriculture and Forestry Office, Mr Sophaphone Senginthavong, told Vientiane Times yesterday that 578 pigs had died from July 6-15.

The deaths were reported in the villages of Laeng, Vat, Nachack, That, Nanom, Namor, Nongsai, Man, Buak, Huaytin, Xontai, Xonneua, Ngon, Vansangon, Meuangper, Namnern and Xai.

“We cannot say whether African swine fever was the cause of death because we are waiting for the results of tests after sending tissue samples to the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry for analysis,” Mr Sophaphone said.

The Agriculture and Forestry Office has forbidden the movement of all pigs and advised people not to eat the meat of dead pigs.

Meanwhile, officials have reported an outbreak of African swine fever in Naxiao village, Naxaithong district, Vientiane, where about 100 pigs died. So far, 2,500 pigs nationwide have died from the disease, according to authorities.

The Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry has been working to prevent the spread of African swine fever from Saravan province and recently called on authorities in Saravan and other provinces to closely monitor their areas for any suspicious pig deaths.

Officials from the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry and Ministry of Health are working with the Industry and Commerce Department to inspect pork products in Vientiane markets in the interests of consumer safety.  Authorities have also inspected pig farms in the areas most at risk.

The inspections are meant to prevent the spread of African swine fever and ensure an adequate supply of pork to meet demand, according to the ministry.

African swine fever cannot be passed from animals to humans, but people can spread the disease. Everyone should be careful to consume only cooked pork to prevent the spread of the virus.

African swine fever is a very hardy virus. It requires high temperatures to kill it and it can survive up to three years in frozen meat and up to one year in dried meat. This means the virus can spread when travellers bring infected products with them to Laos.  The virus often enters the pig via leftover food scraps that are most often left for the animals in backyards and smallholder pig farms.

African swine fever affects pigs and wild boars and has an almost 100 percent death rate. Historically, outbreaks of African swine fever have been reported in Western Europe and the Americas only.  The first Asian case was reported on August 3 last year when it was detected in China.

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