Last month more than 4,000 pigs died from African swine fever (ASF) in Indonesia’s North Sumatra province. The outbreak appears to be worsening in December with as many as 30,000 pigs dead, according to the province’s food security and livestock agency, reported Reuters.
The Agriculture Ministry has just declared an outbreak of ASF in the North Sumatra province of the country: “Very serious handling is being carried out, including isolating those areas,” the North Sumatra Minister Syahrul Yasin Limpo told reporters on Wednesday.
For several months, carcasses have been found on roadways and rivers as farmers quickly discarded pigs out of fear of contagion would decimate their herds.
ASF was first detected in September in the province’s Dairi district. Government officials have deployed monitors to the 38 districts in the region to make sure the outbreak is contained.
Fadjar Sumping Tjatur Rassa, director of animal health at the Agriculture Ministry, said ASF had been found in 16 areas in North Sumatra, including Medan, the capital of Indonesia’s North Sumatra province.
In the 16 contaminated zones, the government has frozen all the transport of meat and meat products. Anyone who is in constant contact with infected herds must go trough bio-security screening, Rassa said.
Rassa said, “road traffic (for pork and its products) are temporarily closed for the infected areas,” adding that the province has a pig population of 1.2 million.
Reuters estimates that Indonesia produced 327,215 tons of pork last year. North Sumatra produces about 13% of the country’s pork, coming in at around 43,308 tons last year.
As seen in many ASF outbreaks in China, spot prices for pork could surge in Indonesia as a result of the recent pig deaths.
China’s pig herd was thinned out by more than half this year thanks to ASF, pushing spot prices of pork in the region to record levels.
There’s no word if ASF is contained in North Sumatra, nor if there were any transmission to wild boar – if there were, then this would mean ASF could spread to other provinces.
There was also no word if the ASF outbreak in the country is connected with China.